Piano Concerto No. 3 in C major op. 26 (1842)
Prelude and Liebestod from »Tristan und Isolde« WWV 90 (1859/63)
»Le Poème de l’Extase« (1905–08)
- Benjamin Grosvenor Piano
- Elim Chan Conductor
To be frank: our usual everyday life is not exactly governed by emotional extremes. Neither on the job nor in our private lives are things particularly dramatic as a general rule, let alone orgiastic. At least there’s a concert that swings from one high point to the next!
Forget Romeo and Juliet. Because the greatest love story of all time takes place between Isolde and a man called Tristan. Should you not happen to have time at the moment for close to four hours of Wagner opera: simply the Prelude and Finale are intoxicating, yearning and heart-rending enough. Even without text.
Stirring and expressive? Definitely! Passionate and fast-paced? By all means! A brilliant spectacle at the keyboard should have all that from the get-go. And it has rarely been as fulminant as in Sergei Prokofiev’s 3 rd Piano Concerto: a completely unbridled mixture of catchy melodies and uninhibitedly wild rhythms.
What begins in Alexander Scriabin with a gently wistful theme ends a good twenty minutes later in a climax that can hardly be surpassed. »An apotheosis!«, the specialist would exclaim, »a spiritual transfiguration!« Perhaps it’s more likely, though more prosaic, that thousands of endorphins are exploding? You’ll have to decide for yourself—if after this concert you can think straight at all.