In the hands of a skilled pianist like Bianconi, Rachmaninoff Third becomes moving and magical.
The highlight of the fare was Rachmaninoff's Concerto No.3. On hand to do the honours was the gifted and acclaimed Philippe Bianconi. Pretty much across the critical board, the Third is considered one of the most difficult of piano concerti. It's filled with devilishly difficult technical passages, notably expressive and extended lines, and the weight of the Russian soul and spirit.
It takes a skilled pianist to artistically combine these ingredients into a coherent and convincing whole. In the hands of many, the Third can be mighty mushy. In the hands of a skilled pianist like Bianconi, it becomes moving and magical.
Such was this performance. Bianconi easily embraced the spirit and demanding virtuoso aspects of the piece and gave it a reading that was both rousing and thoughtful. The high-level playing exhibited was the sort that excites. And based on the audience's wild reception of his efforts, it did just that - excite!
Virginia Gazette (Newport News), John Shulson