Years from now we will be talking about this concert. The tone could easily be imagined as, “Were you there when Garrick Ohlsson Rached the house with two?”
Darko Butorac, conductor of the Asheville Symphony Orchestra, led the orchestra in their Masterworks 6 series (also the closer to the Asheville Amadeus Festival) in Thomas Wolfe Auditorium. Piano soloist Ohlsson led in a Rachmaninoff double feature: Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, Op. 43, and the Piano Concerto No. 2 in C minor, Op. 18. Mozart’s Symphony No. 25 in G minor (the “little” G minor), K.183, opened the program and was the festival tie-in. The stage had been rebuilt to jut 25 feet into the audience, placing the orchestra closer to the audience, with limited seating behind the musicians.
What does a legendary artist such as Ohlsson, at the pinnacle of his career, do, once he’s mastered all the Romantic war horses? Apparently, he plays more than one on the same concert. This stupendous feat of skill, strength, and grit was performed before a packed house that seemed to attract a more eclectic audience than the usual crowd of symphony-goers.