Under Oleg Caetani's direction, guest soloist Philippe Bianconi led the audience on a magnificent journey through Brahms' Piano Concerto No.1.
The opening four minutes or so of the first movement before the soloist comes in reminded us of the essentially symphonic approach that Brahms takes in his concertos. Bianconi's balanced playing complemented this ensemble structure of the piece, without losing any of the impact of contrasting textures of the opposing forces of piano and Orchestra.
Bianconi's solo playing during the Adagio was incredibly intimate, completely drawing the audience into the centre of his worlds and I found myself forgetting that he was in the middle of such a large orchestra. However, this made the orchestral entrances so much more expansive as they drew the audience out onto a much wider canvas, expertly enhancing the musical tensions.
His fiery playing the Rondo excited the audience and was a fitting and satisfying climax to a carefully thought out, but highly warm musical interpretation which was a genuine pleasure to hear.
Artsub.com (Melbourne), Ronald McCoy