1.13.2009

Austin Symphony / Garrick Ohlsson : 4 of 5

It's an amazing feeling when there's a melody you've known forever, and suddenly you're presented with the original source for the first time. That was my experience listening to the third movement of Rachmaninoff's 2nd Symphony, beautifully performed by the Austin Symphony! I really enjoyed the entire work - although the first movement seemed a little rambling, I was really drawn into the syncopated rhythms of the second, the famous emotional phrases of the third, as well as the excitement of the fourth. The Rachmaninoff symphony was a fantastic finale to an evening of Russian composers, starting with a gentle intro piece by Mussorgsky (incredibly quiet for an opening work) and followed by a Dvorak piano concerto featuring guest performer Garrick Ohlsson. He was really interesting to watch, since his body remained relatively still while his hands effortlessly flew over Dvorak's romantic full chords and chromatic runs. The orchestra was reduced quite a bit for this piece, which made the piano more prominent, though I missed all of the absent horns. After the concerto, Garrick Ohlsson decided to play a short "bonus" work not on the program (an easily-recognized Rachmaninoff piece), which was generous and unexpected! I usually go to the symphony alone, but this evening my pals Matt & Kumiko went with me, and it was fun talking about the music and seeing their reactions to everything (they were especially impressed with their first visit to the Long Center)! As always, the symphony was a wonderful experience, and I've been introduced to some wonderful works that I hope to hear again sometime.