Sunday, April 25, 2010

REVIEW: Berezovsky Plays Tchaikovsky with the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra

Berezovsky owned the stage by sharing it.

Berezovsky Plays Tchaikovsky with the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra performed almost to a full house last night, 24th of April, at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre Concert Hall with Perry So conducting.

It was an all-Russian programme. The concert started with Anatol Liadov's The Enchanted Lake, Op. 62. While Liadov's Baba Yaga, Op. 56 performed by The Mariinsky Orchestra and led by Valery Gergiev last month was charming, The Echanted Lake, Op. 62 performed by the HKPO led by Perry So was... hmmm... enchanting? While I expected the Russians to excel in their own music, the performance of the HKPO last night was equally good! The piece, does not have a "story-line" but instead, it was a coloring that almost felt like a wand performing a series of waves and strokes that showcased what magical things it can do.

Then in came Boris Berezovsky. He strutted onto the stage looking like a rock star, sat down and made the piano looked rather small. And there I was, expecting Pyotr Il'yich Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No. 1 in B flat minor, Op. 23 to be played by this big man in a heavy and showy manner. As the four descending notes announced the start of the piece, soon came hammering down the a series of crashing piano chords from Berezovsky. What followed afterward, however, caught me off-guard. Suddenly, the music sounded no longer like some kind of Soviet propaganda that I have associated it with; but instead, it was subtle, personal and poetic. Suddenly, it was no longer all about the piano; but instead, about the relationship between the piano and the orchestra. It was no longer a tag-team sport; but instead, simply a team sport. It was utterly beautiful.

Berezovsky received a well-deserved resounding applause from the audience. The audience were ecstatic. Berezovsky was very gracious to give two encores. One of them was the 3rd movement and this time, it was even better! It was almost as if the pressure was off and now he can play with ease, pleasure and abandonment. Both encores were warmly welcomed by a very grateful audience.

After the interval came Sergei Prokofiev's Symphony No. 5 in B flat, Op. 100. It started off very unsure, but slowly warmed up. Things began to sound "right" at the end of the 1st movement and the 2nd movement was played with more purpose. The 3rd movement sounded like a Soviet military funeral music (not sure whether this was a valid proposition), but 4th movement was preformed wondrously potent and alive.

Was I just totally intoxicated by the Tchaikovsky's Piano 1, that I have difficulty shaking it off and enjoy the Prokofiev's Symphony 1? I don't know and will not know. Overall though, it was a very very good evening that delightfully wrapped up a beautiful sunny day.


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At July 10, 2010 at 5:53 AM , OpenID tiefbenkel said...

Thank you for very interesting reveiw and posting this amazing record! Berezovsky is unimitable magnificent genius.

At July 11, 2010 at 8:04 PM , Blogger SATOSHI said...

Most welcome. He is and I look forward to hearing him again sometime in the future. :-)


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