For soloists, it is an Everest. For audiences, it is an emotional rollercoaster. Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No. 3 is regarded as the ultimate test of a pianist’s power and virtuosity, ‘a gigantic work with many challenges,’ according to Leif Ove Andsnes.
This mammoth, intense conversation for piano and orchestra begins with a theme chanted like a prayer, but soon becomes something altogether more immense and heroic. It is a work both sensual and imposing, whose undercurrents of restlessness give it a thrilling edge.
Andsnes, whose recordings of the concerto are considered benchmarks, is united with Edward Gardner for this performance that forms the culmination of an energizing concert. Carl Nielsen’s Symphony No. 3 rides the crest of a wave in music both propulsive and serene.
Before Nielsen’s hymn to the power of nature, Kristine Tjøgersen leads us deep into the woods courtesy of her atmospheric orchestral forest-scape, Between trees.
Photo: Helge Hansen