10/13/2012 Review by John Bridges

ASHEVILLE SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA

MASTERWORKS 2 • BRAHMS’ PIANO CONCERTO No. 2

Daniel Meyer, conductor

Valentina Lisitsa, piano

Saturday, October 13, 2012 • 8:00 pm
Thomas Wolfe Auditorium
Asheville, North Carolina

– Review –

Johannes Brahms’ “Piano Concerto No. 2 in B-flat major, Op. 83” was the main work last Saturday evening by the Asheville Symphony under the direction of Daniel Meyer. It was a scintillating performance. Guest soloist Valentina Lisitsa delivered the many demanding passages with ease and distinction without making it a display of technical grandeur. Her realization of the changing character of the many and varied concertato passages spoke of the music rather than of the artistry that the composer had built into the piece. Her confidence in the playing made the audience realize and appreciate the artistry.

The concert began with “Funeral Music from Black Rain”, a brief meditation on death by Japanese composer Toru Takemitsu (1930-96).

The meaning of death was continued in Richard Strauss’ “Tod und Verklärung” (Death and Transfiguration), a work closely related to the orchestral portions of Richard Wagner’s “Tristan und Isolde”. Conductor Meyer’s delivery reflected the poetry and drama of the music.

Prior to the beginning of the concert, the appointment of David N. Whitehill as the new Executive Director of the Asheville Symphony was announced. He replaces Steven Hageman who is retiring after managing the orchestra for sixteen seasons of growth. Mr. Hageman received a well-deserved standing ovation.

by John Bridges

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