I really did enjoy this version by Berlioz, yet it’s difficult not to compare the version by Tchaikovsky which is really spectacular, so it’s not fair to pit the two against each other in a hypothetical match-up. Certainly I want to hear the Berlioz version again, I find that listening to selections repeatedly reenforces my like for the music.
After intermission we were treated to Brahms: Piano Concerto No. 2, music with which I am very familiar. Nicholas Angelich took complete control with his mastery of the piano. His technique wasn’t subtle, his tumultuous approach at the beginning was enough to wake the sleepiest of patrons, simultaneously usurping the role of the orchestra, at least for movements 1 and 2.
I really do like the music, but for some reason the first two movements seemed too loud for my liking, somehow saturating my senses, like clipping for speakers (when the peaks and troughs of a sinusoidal waveform hit the maximum permissible value, it indicates a signal has been ‘clipped.’). However, the 3rd and 4th movements were just right, the perfect volume, and very well played by the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. Note to self: get seats further back next time.
I always enjoy seeing guest conductor Gianandrea Noseda with the PSO, he did a great job as always, very animated with adroit clarity – I hope he returns often.
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