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

Making A Change To Keep A Constant Consonant

Given two words, change the first consonant sound in each word to the same new consonant sound and you'll phonetically name two things in the same category.
NPR

Need A New Sweet Potato Recipe For Your Thanksgiving Table? Try Gnocchi

Because some cooks like to mix it up for Thanksgiving, we offer a Found Recipe from our archives: Julia Della Croce's purple sweet potato gnocchi.
WAMU 88.5

Marion Barry, Legend Of D.C. Politics, Dies At 78

The former mayor and current Ward 8 Council member had visited a hospital earler on Saturday and died around midnight at United Medical Center.

NPR

Car Ride Service Puts Gender In The Driver's Seat

Car share programs are extremely popular, but so are concerns for safety. NPR's Tess Vigeland talks to Stella Mateo, founder of SheRides, which allows passengers to choose the gender of their driver.

Leave a Comment

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