A Brief Change of Tune

Wednesday, March 01, 2006
The other evening I had the good fortune of witnessing Emanuel Ax perform Johannes Brahms - Piano Concerto No.1, Op.15 with the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra. I do not have an educated ear so I cannot tell you why it was excellent but viscerally I know that to be the case. It was among the very finest performances I have ever experienced.

Should you ever have the chance to experience a performance by Mr. Ax, grab it.

As for Brahms Piano Concerto No. 1, Opus 15, well, I expect piano concertos to lull me to sleep (I don't mean that as criticism, it is what piano concertos do to me and as odd as it may be to say so, I like the feeling of it). There is no lullaby in that piece. It is invigorating (thanks, Rick!). Try it, you'll like it.

As for the orchestra, it is always in fine fiddle and for this performance, it seems to this knucklehead, in excellent form and Maestro Järvi, a man of good humor, was at his best.

5 comments:

babushka said...

I heard Ax on the radio the other day, and, like you, heard "something" there. Another plug: harpsichordist Richard Egarr, touring nationally (Duke, Stanford, Seattle, NY, elsewhere) with an evening of Bach's Goldberg Variations.

David Thomson said...

Does the dude do any rap or acid rock? This old white man stuff has got to go.

Seneca the Younger said...

I'm always suspicious of anyone doing the Goldbergs. Glenn Gould is still in press, and they're liable to have heard him grunting his way through....

I do like the fact that Ax looks so goofy. Too many of the recent piano people have been Pretty.

terrye said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Knucklehead said...

Seneca,

A common comment among the audience following Ax's performance - in addition to "he's good!" - was stuff along the lines of "it's nice to see an unpretentious pianist for a change".