Sunday, November 23, 2008

PSO: Ohlsson plays Beethoven

Last week, Mr. Ohlsson was featured in New York Times review of a recital in New York City. Reading this piqued my interest, and I was looking forward to this Sunday's concert.

With the beginning of Beethoven Piano Concerto No. 4 seemed to start different. Instead of the usual build from the orchestra, Mr. Ohlsson introduced the theme on the piano. And the exposed introduction on the piano was followed by the richness of the full orchestra. For the rest of the piece we were treated to impressive piano, intricate, delicate and amazing fingerwork. Well contrasted with the fullness of sound in the orchestra.

I have a belief that people and roles are not interchangeable. Which is a little strange, since my profession is one that is forced to work with people who are anonymous (except perhaps in terms of skill sets.) But even if from an abstract level we can work as if people could be interchangeable, at the point where something actually happens, it always seems different. People working alongside each other seem to adjust to each others strengths and weaknesses, and even if the job titles are fixed, the actual jobs seem to be just a little different from one team to another.

And Ohlsson playing Beethoven shows the uniqueness. It never seems like the piano and orchestra are ever competing, because the orchestral parts display a richness that is hard to imagine coming from a piano, and the piano parts have intricacy and detail that is hard to imagine coming from the multitude of voices of an orchestra. It was a wonder and a joy to behold.
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