Garrick Ohlsson: In Pursuit Of A Warhorse | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio
Filed Under:

Garrick Ohlsson: In Pursuit Of A Warhorse

Play associated audio

Pianist Garrick Ohlsson launched his career in 1970, when he became the first American to win the International Chopin Competition. Since then, he's performed and recorded an exceptionally wide range of piano literature — Chopin, Beethoven, Mozart, Schubert and much more. But there's one romantic warhorse he's avoided in the recording studio until now: Rachmaninov's flashy and notoriously finger-twisting Piano Concerto No. 3.

All my piano heroes share a common tradition — that showmanship can hinder the honest interpretation of a composer's intent. That dedication to pure music-making is what most characterizes Ohlsson.

At one time, it was fashionable to dismiss Rachmaninov as a second-rate composer who wore his heart on his sleeve, but this pianist shows that there's plenty of muscle in Rachmaninov's musical craft.

When Ohlsson walks onstage, at 6-feet-4, he's an imposing figure. He looks like he could crush the piano with one big chord, and he does have a massive technique that makes short order of Rachmaninov's famously difficult passages. But Ohlsson can move from thunder to silk with extraordinary ease.

This is music composed on a grand canvas; its opulent textures and rhapsodic melodies require exquisite interactions among pianist, conductor and orchestra. And the Atlanta Symphony, with conductor Robert Spano, joins Ohlsson in this deeply inspired collaboration.

Ohlsson's recording of the "Rach 3" has given me new interest in this very familiar piece. I can't stop myself from repeating movements, even skipping around to sections just to get another taste of their emotional impact. Rachmaninov's third piano concerto is a heroic work, certainly, and Garrick Ohlsson is the piano hero who has brought us one of its finest performances.

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

Do Touch The Artwork At Prado's Exhibit For The Blind

The renowned Spanish museum has made 3-D copies of some of its most iconic works to allow blind people to feel them.
NPR

How Dangerous Is Powdered Alcohol?

Last month, the U.S. Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau approved a powdered alcohol product, making both parents and lawmakers nervous. Some states have already banned powdered alcohol. NPR's Arun Rath speaks with Brent Roth of Wired, who made his own powdered concoction and put it to the test.
NPR

Obama Administration Forced To Defend Strategy Against ISIS In Iraq

On this Memorial Day, the Obama administration finds itself defending its foreign policy strategy in Iraq where the self-proclaimed Islamic State, also known as ISIS, has captured the city of Ramadi.
NPR

With Live Video Apps Like Periscope, Life Becomes Even Less Private

Video cameras are everywhere — from those in smartphones to security cams. And just when you thought it couldn't get harder to hide, live-streaming video apps are raising new questions about privacy.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.