Making his second visit to Tasmania, Macedonian pianist Simon Trpčeski took on one of the really big pieces in the concerto repertoire – the Brahms Piano Concerto No. 2 in B flat, Op. 83.
He brought both ardour and strength to bear on this grand work, but also an unexpected fluent delicacy to many passages where a heavier approach is often taken.
The TSO supplied high quality solo playing especially from woodwind and horns, with conductor Eivind Aadland encouraging a thrilling intensity in the orchestral tutti of that expansive opening movement.
The scherzo was fiery and energetic while in the slow movement there was clear rapport between principal cellist Jonathan Békés and the pianist. Békés’ playing of one of Brahms’s most heartfelt melodies was glorious as was the section where the two clarinets and piano fade into the most hushed più adagio dialogue before the return of that cello theme.
The concluding movement was contrastingly light and sparkling with a sudden spurt in tempo towards the end leaving a feeling of happy resolution. Trpceski’s approach was always one of clarity and precision though his love of the music was never in doubt. The audience response was rewarded generously with three short encores.
Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5 in E minor, Op. 64 is always a sure-fire winner with audiences but was stirring yet again to be reminded of the composer’s emotional candour and melodic richness in this symphony.
Aadland and his orchestra gave an interpretation that was exhilarating and warmly lyrical, full-blooded but not overwrought. The impassioned climax to the second movement and the brilliant, incisive brass contributions in the finale were high points.