CBSO 9.5.19 review

REPLACEMENT PIANIST IS A FIRESTORM

CBSO
Symphony Hall *****

Huge question marks float round when hearing that the soloist for a concert has withdrawn due to illness. The piece in question was Prokofiev's 5th Piano Concerto -- nothing trivial or, indeed familiar. No fears on this occasion however as the replacement was firestorm Denis Kozhukin who took the concerto by the throat, squeezing out every possibility with his technical wizardry from a meaty cadenza to filigree pianissimos. Never has piano technique zipped through the music with such verve and unbelievable top- to-toe perfection. (Was it a glissando or merely a fast bunch of scales, we asked?)

The CBSO players sat with knowing smiles throughout. What a star! We were eventually calmed by magical encores (Grieg/Mendelssohn),and left with happy memories of this very special pianist, who has played in about 40 top concert halls world-wide up to now. Mirga Grazinyte-Tyla was on the rostrum, weaving her own special magic.

More smiles for Ligeti's 'Romanian Concerto'. Lovely horn solos (with offstage echos), jolly woodwind, secret gypsy-style foot stamping . . . dancing to encourage itchy feet and more grins throughout.

Dear, familiar Brahms. His Symphony No 2 brought a breath of familiarity and of course his wonderful sweeping melodies Sunlit melting horn solos, romantic oboe, the CBSO delivered everything as expected; sighs and starry eyes. Who cares about the May rain pouring down ? We have our memories to keep us happy!

Maggie Cotton

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