Alexandre the Great Captures, Enraptures Audience at the Greenwich Symphony


Flashback: The incredible young pianist Alexandre Moutouzkine first showed Greenwich audiences his astonishing artistry in the Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto #3 in 2012 with the Greenwich Symphony, a performance which left the audience collectively gasping.

Apr 26
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Flashback: The incredible young pianist Alexandre Moutouzkine first showed Greenwich audiences his astonishing artistry in the Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto #3 in 2012 with the Greenwich Symphony, a performance which left the audience collectively gasping.

Last weekend, in the final concert of the Symphony’s 57th season, the work he played was the massively pyrotechnical Liszt Piano Concerto #2, with lots of runs, flourishes, octaves, arpeggios, trills and very little thematic material. While he astonished with his presence and fantastic technique, we wanted more: a real concerto, with discernible movements. And we didn’t even receive an encore from the gifted young man in a black tailcoat after a standing ovation and many cries of “bravo.”

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Alexandre the Great Captures, Enraptures Audience at the Greenwich Symphony

More Moutouzkine, less Liszt!

By Linda Phillips

Flashback: The incredible young pianist Alexandre Moutouzkine first showed Greenwich audiences his astonishing artistry in the Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto #3 in 2012 with the Greenwich Symphony, a performance which left the audience collectively gasping.

Last weekend, in the final concert of the Symphony’s 57th season, the work he played was the massively pyrotechnical Liszt Piano Concerto #2, with lots of runs, flourishes, octaves, arpeggios, trills and very little thematic material. While he astonished with his presence and fantastic technique, we wanted more: a real concerto, with discernible movements. And we didn’t even receive an encore from the gifted young man in a black tailcoat after a standing ovation and many cries of “bravo.”

Conductor David Gilbert announced the works, and gave background information on the pieces to be played and on the inside history of music, introducing many of us to Mottl, a great conductor of the late 19th century who championed Berlioz and Chabrier, and collaborated with Gluck.

Opening with the Gluck-Mottl Ballet Suite #1, the orchestra sounded the work’s major theme, with French horn prominent. Section two was consonant and sweet going from minor key, with major resolutions. In the third section French horn and flute spoke, Light and sprightly, the section contained an excellent motif by flutist Helen Campo. A light, romantic section followed, with the entire work courtly and rather majestic.

Alexandre Moutouzkine took the stage for the Liszt with a command that extended to his greeting of Concertmaster Krystof Wytek, then turned his prodigious talent to the keyboard, where he issued the four sections, encapsulated in one unbroken movement, moods changing and drama surging, with total mastery.

The quiet opening, with clarinet prominent, led to broken chords in piano, the on to astonishing runs, where Mr. Moutouzkine showed his absolutely perfect dynamics.

Dramatic and florid, Adagio sostenuto assai contained runs and a solo by the pianist that was dark, and repeated in the orchestra. It ran immediately into Allegro moderato, quiet, the cello picking up the melody from piano in a duet. Allegro deciso was markedly 4/4, with the piano repeating a sequence of chords. Allegro animato was a breathtaking scampering in the keyboard, dramatically underscored by kettle drums. Moutouzkine was astonishing, riveting.

To call Mr. Moutouzkine’s performance “flawless” would be to belittle it.