REVIEW: Philadelphia Orchestra Concert a Triumph for Noseda and Trpceski
The Philadelphia Orchestra played a pair of Thanksgiving weekend concerts this past Friday and Saturday that featured an interesting juxtaposition of both the familiar (Rossini, Rachmaninoff) and not-so-familiar: It was the United States premiere of Casella’s Symphony No. 2 in C minor, Op. 12, the work by the late composer who died in 1947.
The highlight of the evening was the virtuosic Macedonian pianist Simon Trpceski, who received a lengthy, thunderous ovation after his performance of Rachmaninoff’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, Op. 43. Mr. Trpceski’s technical proficiency was astounding, and he played with powerful expression. In fact, the audience was so moved that Mr. Trpceski returned to the stage on Friday evening to play an encore, Pande Shahov’s “In Struga,” which he dedicated to a friend who is a University of Pennsylvania professor.
The evening was lead by Philadelphia Orchestra regular Gianandrea Noseda, who last appeared with the ensemble in March 2015. Mr. Noseda, the music director of the Teatro Regio Torino, is widely known for his interpretation of operatic works, and he demonstrated this mastery on Friday evening by opening the program with an inspired performance of Rossini’s overture to The Thieving Magpie. Most notably, Mr. Noseda was able to keep a harmonious balance between Mr. Trpceski’s piano and the Orchestra’s signature sound during the Rachmaninoff.
Casella’s work, which had its American premiere that evening with the Orchestra, was a lengthy, at times extremely melodramatic, symphony that was fraught with anxiety. In particular, the Allegro molt vivace was just downright odd, a mix between a tarantella and a strange, slow melody. The organ was utilized for a mere two or three minutes in the work’s bizarre Epilogo. Nevertheless, despite the eccentric nature of the piece, the Orchestra performed the work with gusto, and received a healthy ovation at the conclusion of the evening.
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