I begin with a poem written while intently listening to “The Moldau” from Ma Vlast by Smetana. I was surprised that my friend had not heard this composition before. He listens to classical music (perhaps not enough), and his father was born in Hungary, close to Czech Republic.
Slowly dancing, sprightly dime, riddled humored tones unwind. If left for them to reason, pervasive rhyme, neither amble, losing shame, nor winning shine. Body full unwinding sentiment, your time is now, melodic perforation, exhibition, Bohemian brow. String punctuating tempo, Horns budding relentlessly, Harps fluctuate divine. Beauteous ambling, weaving surreptitious phrases, bastion sublime. Nothing subtle in his ambient clime. She enthusiastically reaches, crescendo rolling over. Harmonics drum laden metaphoric cacophony Climaxing mixed theme, tempestuously culminating, pausing as if seeing. Seeing a serendipitous view, a view that seems to extend beyond space and time My temporal coefficients procure sight, and it's mine. Light spectral ranging, redirected heraldic pride, march and theme, never chide, ever plied. Blessed as I was, a straight view, perfect through and through.
The Dvořák Piano Concerto begins with a very dramatic introduction. Strings, playing in total unison, sidle up to my ears as notes fly from the piano in crisp succinct adhesion to my expectant mind. Francesco Piemontesi masters the eclectic cerebral first movement with preeminent vitality. My ears are attentive to hearing the individual parts. The composition seems somewhat like a pernicious child, as if the piano part wants to do the opposite of the orchestra. Yet they seem to form a more cohesive interplay toward the end with a ranging and articulate conclusion.
The slow second movement is more concise and less complicated, adding a romantic flavor. A recurring three notes seem to compel the development. I like the playful back and forth between the orchestra and the piano, as if the soloist is asking the question: “Can we talk?” and the answer from the orchestra is an emphatic “Yes.”
The final movement seems more in line with the typical piano concerto that we are most often presented, like a romp or playful jaunt down the line. I hear a succession of first two notes, then four, and Mr. Piemontesi develops that phrase over and over, handing it subsequently back and forth to the orchestra. This entertaining composition ought to be played more often.
Mozart’s Symphony No. 38 “Prague” is one of my favorites, especially the first movement with its mischievous interplay. It’s no coincidence tonight’s concert was titled “Mozart in Prague,” the genius of this composition seems to overshadow even the hometown composers. The introduction is slow and elaborate, different from the quickly paced Allegro to follow. Live it takes on a more full bodied facet encircling and encompassing my orbit in breathtaking urgency, a force of nature.
Dvořák’s Carnival Overture is a fitting conclusion to the schedule selections. It’s quickly paced and fluent with rapid strings and pure horn sounds throughout. I vaguely hear some themes I also recall from his New World symphony. Everything is alive and bright, I hear tone transitions and beautiful simultaneous strings so pure as to bring new found delight.
The symphonic encore is Dvořák’s Slavonic Dance No. 2. This is the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra led by guest conductor Juraj Valčuha at their best!