Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No. 2
January 11-13 | 2018
Cristian Măcelaru CONDUCTS
Behzod Abduraimov PIANO
Bradley Hunter Welch ORGAN
Piano Concerto No. 2
Acclaimed young pianist Behzod Abduraimov returns to the DSO for Rachmaninoff’s epic Piano Concerto No. 2.
“[Abduraimov was] technically in total command, poetic and stormingly rousing as the music demanded.” Financial Times
- Macelaru Shows Capable Hand with DSO in Romantic Program
by Wayne Lee Gay, Texas Classical Review
Cristian Macelaru joined the Dallas Symphony Orchestra for a concert devoted to twentieth-century Romanticism Thursday night at Meyerson Symphony Center.
Although the Romanian-born guest conductor’s chosen repertoire was limited to one particular style, he nevertheless made a strong bid for the soon-to-be vacant post of music director. Macelaru’s ties to Texas include past service in the violin section of the Houston Symphony and graduate study in conducting at Rice University.
Dallas-based organist Bradley Hunter Welch joined Macelaru and the DSOI to open the program with Samuel Barber’s Toccata Festiva for Organ and Orchestra. The work itself, with a grandly noisy introduction followed by one of Barber’s most appealingly lyrical tunes, is a perfect curtain-raiser for a hall with a great organ.
The Barber performance handsomely served as a showpiece for the hall’s organ and the soloist, as well as the conductor and orchestra. Welch demonstrated his own technical expertise with perfect execution throughout, particularly in the unmetered cadenza for pedals; likewise, he showed absolute command of the sonic possibilities of the hall’s grand organ. For his part, conductor Macelaru ably guided the orchestra through the constant changes of mood and meter with which the orchestra responds to the organ solo.
After this tidbit from America’s greatest neo-romantic composer, Macelaru and orchestra turned their attention to two major works from Sergei Rachmaninoff, the composer who can still be viewed as the leading representative of the romantic style.
Once upon a time, Rachmaninoff’s Second Piano Concerto was the most frequently performed of that composer’s symphonic works; while it has been replaced in the spotlight by his Piano Concerto No. 3 and the Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, it retains an aura of overfamiliarity that can challenge both conductor and pianist.