I mentioned before that I count Brahms’s first piano concerto as one of my absolute favorites, and given that Emanuel Ax holds a high rank on another list of my favorites, I was beyond excited for last weekend’s performance.
was also beyond excited to be seated audience left. When there’s a solo
pianist, these are, of course, the best seats – that’s where all the
action happens (you get a full view of the performer, his/her fingers,
the keys of the piano, etc.). But if you’re a pianist yourself (and I
am), this view is a must.
a side note: By the end of the concerto, the woman seated next to me
leaned over and asked if If I played the piano. I answered that I did,
to which she said, “I thought so.” This has happened to me before. I’m
still not sure what gives me away.
it was my eyes, because they were transfixed on Ax for the whole of the
first and third movements. During the second movement, however, the one
I had been waiting for, my gaze was drawn instead to an empty seat in
the viola section. For me, this movement has always been one of quiet
consolation – intimate, almost prayerful. And the piano just
sings. While Strauss’s Death and Transfiguration was a powerful
and poignant send-off, Brahms’s offering seemed, to me, a more fitting
farewell. Peter Guroff will be sorely missed. Benedictus qui venit in nomine Domini.