Tchaikovsky, Rococo Variations,
M. Maisky, Orpheus CO
Dvořák, Sy. 8/9, Budapest FO,
The NSO took that idea and ran with it, the low winds murmuring under the bluesy trumpet in Lonely Town: Pas de deux and
It may have been wiser to open with the much less satisfying Tchaikovsky piece, the Variations on a Rococo Theme, which Maisky played well but with some of the more intricate finger work, especially near the beginning, not always in tune (a lack of precision that marred his Bach suites at the National Gallery of Art in 2004). The piece generally works better with a lighter-toned player, but Maisky gave gorgeous shape to the slower, melody-rich passages (especially the minor-mode seventh variation), danced with liquid ease high on the A string, and played the cadenza-like opening to the eighth variation brilliantly. Not even your jaded critic could complain about hearing Maisky apply the same oozing technique to another Tchaikovsky selection as an encore, the rueful D minor nocturne.
Anne Midgette, An NSO program to wet the whistle (Washington Post, January 29)
This program repeats tonight (January 30, 8 pm), for anyone willing to brave the snow. The next program from the NSO will feature conductor James Gaffigan and pianist Denis Matsuev (February 18 to 20), previewed earlier this week.