Friday, February 05, 2010


So, I did see Radu Lupu at Strathmore last week, but it was one of those concerts that is kind of hard to write about because I didn't feel I was really in the proper space to appreciate it. But you know, posterity and all that, so I shall say a few words.

Obviously, Radu Lupu kicks ass. There is that beloved Brahms CD of course, and then I saw his Debussy which was ridiculous. This program was Janacek's In the Mists plus the Appassionata, plus Schubert (the Sonata in A Major) after the half. It was great to hear the Janacek (yay!) live--I seriously don't get why his piano works and those of Poulenc are not programmed more often. But it was nice here.

I found the Appassionata problematic. I would never characterize Lupu's approach as "precious"--"genius of coloring" is more appropriate--but he seems to have sacrificed some of the work's momentum for the sake of pursuing those gorgeous colors. The resulting experience, while fascinating in places, was less than satisfying. But maybe it was just me.

The Schubert suffered a bit from the same syndrome but was much more successful, particularly his spectral reading of the slow movement. And then there was the encore--one of those famous Intermezzi--and all the magic came flooding back. Brahms' chords in Lupu's hands are not assemblages of notes, but single, bottomless sounds. As Alex Ross says in that review--it's as though Lupu's piano is a different instrument entirely...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

In NY we got the Schubert Bb major sonata - his last one. It was heavenly. I agree re. Janacek piano pieces. Has anyone ever complained "they play too much Janacek"? No, never.