Saturday, February 1, 2014

Roving Pittsburgher Report -
B 3 = Bach x Beethoven x Brahms
A Review of the PSO’s Jan. 31st 2014 Concert

B 3 = Bach x Beethoven x Brahms
A Review of the PSO’s Jan. 31st 2014 Concert
Manfred Honeck
(photo courtesy: PSO)
Though the opening tune was one that is frequently associated with vampires emerging from their caskets or spooky Halloween scenes, it was no scary start to the Grand Classics concert Friday night at Heinz Hall. Led by conductor and music director Manfred Honeck, the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra played works of three great composers Bach, Beethoven, and Brahms.

The PSO opened with Bach’s “Toccata and Fugue in D minor” for organ, transcribed for orchestra by Leopold Stokowski. Complete with the bombastic but still eerie beginning, the wall of sound was impressive. But it was the intricacy of crazy quick fugal sequences, originally meant for nimble keyboard hands, that was a true test and showcase of precision.

Helene Grimaud
(photo courtesy: PSO)
Sandwiched between Bach and Brahms was Beethoven, the star of the show. Symphony No.4 in B-flat major, Opus 60 opened with swells of dramatic flare and then quickly contrasting, quiet suspenseful passages. The second movement featured a beautifully played clarinet solo by Michael Rusinek! The piece culminated in an exhilarating dance of flurry which is “classic” Beethoven and fun to hear played so well.

The final piece, Concerto No. 1 in D minor for Piano and Orchestra, Opus 15 by Brahms, featured Ms Helene Grimaud of France. Though it features robust orchestration paired with the piano soloist, Gimaud held her own well and was not washed out by the full sound. She also played the rich and expressive solo passages with great skill and brought out the passion filled melodies beautifully.

The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra hit the trifecta with this concert and received a fitting standing ovation from the audience.

Additional Concert Times:
Sunday, February 2nd, 2014 at 2:30 PM

By: Stephanie Curtice
Good News and Cultural Reporter
(c) 2013

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