It’s lovely to hear a soloist of such spectacular ability who is willing to be part of the background at times and to play Rachmaninov as if, at times, he were Chopin.Rachmaninoff’s Third Piano Concerto with the BBC Philharmonic26 Apr 2023
“…there was something very special to hear in Garrick Ohlsson’s Rachmaninov Third Piano Concerto on Saturday.
It’s often considered one of the greatest challenges for any virtuoso pianist… But Ohlsson performed it with consummate skill, completely in control of all its demands and creating with it something of great musical beauty.
The factor that first struck me was the way the lyrical solo themes came across in the first movement, with a disarming kind of sweetness that is as much characteristic of Ohlsson’s playing as his technical mastery. That quality of purity, and some glorious surges of tone from both piano and orchestra, were richly rewarding in the central Intermezzo, too, and skilfully prepared the ground for an electric moment of transition as the finale began. Ohlsson and Storgårds took its alla breve tempo at a hurtling pace, and what could have been just a thrilling ride still had room for gentleness. It’s lovely to hear a soloist of such spectacular ability who is willing to be part of the background at times and to play Rachmaninov as if, at times, he were Chopin.
The final pages of the concerto had quite extraordinary strength and impetus, utterly musical to the last, and the Philharmonic brought a glow of sunshine to their contribution. As if that were not enough for a septuagenarian on one night, Ohlsson finished the evening with some actual Chopin (the dreamy E flat Nocturne op.9 no.2), played with the kind of artistry that hides exceptional art.”