Bronfman Plays Beethoven, Part III

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Thursday, June 11, 2015

This week the New York Philharmonic wraps up The Beethoven Piano Concertos: A Philharmonic Festival, in which Yefim Bronfman performs the complete Beethoven Piano Concerto cycle.

In the festival's final program Bronfman plays Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 5, "Emperor," and Beethoven’s Triple Concerto featuring Bronfman, principal cello Carter Brey, and then-concertmaster Glenn Dicterow before concluding his 34-year tenure.

Program playlist:
Beethoven: Triple Concerto in C major, Op. 56
Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 5 in E-Flat major, Op. 73, "Emperor"

Comments [1]

Les from Miami, Florida

This concert was completely satisfying in terms of programming and performance by one and all. The articulation of the opening six notes by orchestra and later by the soloists was well-matched, as were subsequent motives. My feeling toward the "Triple Concerto" is that it's for piano trio and orchestra, giving the lie to what many believe is one of Beethoven's less inspired creations. Coming from the same timeframe as the "Eroica" Symphony the "Waldstein" and "Appassionata" Sonatas, I can't agree with the belief of many that it's a shallower work. Some think the 'cello is the primary solo instrument, many because it begins the solo material in all three movements. I think the opportunities for violin 'cello and piano for equal virtuosity and compelling discourse are many, a most convincing example of which is the triplet figuration all three play in the development section of the first movement, "Allegro". The structural principal of the "Largo" movement foreshadows that of the "Adagio poco sostenuto" movement in the "Emperor" Concerto,(a name Beethoven didn't give the work but was added by a publisher after his death) in that the third movement begins immediately after the slow movement's conclusion (with the reiterated note G on the 'cello becoming the first note of the "Rondo alla Polacca" that concludes the work; and in the "Emperor" Concerto, the concluding bars in B major of the slow movement are followed by the beginning of the "Rondo: Allegro" final movement. The difference is an harmonic one, since the slow movement of the "Emperor" is in B major and the last movement, like the first, is in E flat major, the bassoons (for an instant) and the horns intone a B flat, from which the piano solo plays the main thematic material of the last movement before beginning with vigor the final movement. I thought the orchestral accompaniments to both works were outstanding, the timpani parts being more pronounced and punctuated that one usually hears and the "sforzando" accents called for in both clearly and scrupulously obeyed. The "rococo" sound of the piano I wondered about in the First and Second Concertos was intentional, since the dotted eight note-sixteenth note-quarter note figures marked "fortissimo" in the first movement of the "Emperor" were as loud and resonant as I've ever heard them. A joyous and concert, all in all, filled with rollicking good spirits that frame depths of meditation in the slow movements.

Jun. 14 2015 01:59 PM

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