I attended the first three CSO concerts of the season. Each featured a concerto: Lang Lang playing Beethoven’s Piano Concerto #1, Martin Frost playing Mozart’s clarinet concerto, and Emanuel Ax playing Chopin’s Piano Concerto #2.
The rock star of the bunch was clearly Lang Lang, who played to a packed house for this all Beethoven affair. He was also the biggest showboat: for example, leaning back away from the keyboard to admire the elegance of his right hand as it beautifully executed an intricately ornamented passage. Since he did indeed play it with charm and grace, I am willing to indulge him. He deserves his notoriety, and the enthusiastic applause he received.
This was in contrast to the understated, charming performance of the Chopin by Emanuel Ax. Being fully engaged in the music making, Ax had no time for grand, superfluous gestures. Whenever the piano…
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