Where to begin? Well, I'll begin with my absolute favorite part of the entire evening (which, by the way, was actually harder to narrow down to than I thought; there were a lot of amazing parts of my evening with the PSO!): Yan Pascal Tortelier. What a charming, funny guy! He began the second act with a nice oral intro about Ravel's Trio. Why would he do such a thing? Well, because he took that famous melody and added about, oh, 70 instruments to the three it originallly was written for. He showed off segments written as they were originally intended, and then played the same segments with his new orchestrations behind it.
My overall impression of the improvements: Pure Genius! It's almost unthinkable that someone could make the Ravel Trio better, but Tortelier does it, and he does it well. If his new and improved Trio doesn't make it into the classical music canon as a masterpiece, then I just don't even know what to say. The finale was especially wonderful.
Going from one guy to the next, Orion Weiss, solo pianist of the night, played the gorgeous Grieg Concerto for Piano and Orchestra. I was sitting really close to the stage, about four rows away and got a super close view of Weiss in action. He's a really fun guy! Perfectly animated, he's everything I thought a classical pianist should be: full of gusto and drama and energy. Between movements one and two, he actually pulled a "Joshua Bell" and got an enthusiastic ovation for a job very well done.
The entire night was well done. I met Orion during the intermission, and I still can't believe he's so young! He plays amazingly, and if he can play like this at 26, I can't wait to hear what he'll sound like at 40.
Bravo, PSO! Bravo Tortelier! Bravo Orion.