Chopin, Grande valse brillante (inter alia), D. Trifonov
From the start, where the solo part is quite minimalistic, Trifonov gave every nuance a dramatic cast, delighting in each accent or shift of tempo and applying a careful touch. Much of the piece was hardly more than a whisper of air over the keyboard, murmurs and half-thought ideas, from the devilish syncopations to the broad Romantic gestures. The piece is actually just about as strange as Trifonov played it, a series of character pieces leading up to the famous Variation XVIII, the only moment where this Rachmaninov sounds like everyone's favorite Rachmaninov (and my least favorite one). Trifonov set up those three well-known minutes by drawing back the preceding variation almost entirely into itself and keeping its outburst of passion contained as long as he could.
Katherine Boyle, Ailing Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos cancels NSO performance (Washington Post, March 16)
Philip Kennicott, Conductor Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos finishes concert despite apparent health issue (Washington Post, March 15)
Robert Battey, Ankush Kumar Bahl leads NSO performance well after Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos takes ill (Washington Post, March 17)
---, Conductor Frühbeck de Burgos inspires NSO musicians (Washington Post, March 14)
Anne Midgette, Daniil Trifonov: A pianist ahead of his time (Washington Post, March 8)
The NSO's Strauss anniversary observation concludes next week, with soprano Iréne Theorin and bass-baritone John Relyea (March 20 to 22).