Primarily based on his riveting appearances with the BSO and, most not too long ago, a deeply stirring Sonatenabend with Joshua Bell, expectations ran excessive for Daniil Trifonov’s solo recital for the Celeb Sequence final evening at Symphony Corridor — a welcome milestone in Boston’s appreciation of the mighty virtuoso.
Rameau’s Suite in A Minor began in a dreamy temper. Pointedly anti-harpsichord in its strategy, unabashedly sustained sounds of the Allemande lasted about twice so long as one would count on, or so it felt. It took a little bit of time to get adjusted to the idea, and as an try and calm the viewers, it failed, because the hubbub of coughs, squeaks, and shuffling continued – punctuated by noisy skirmishes between listeners and their listening to aids, telephones, and glucose screens. His take stirred a bit extra within the Courante and Sarabande, however an odd temper hung over the suite: extra of penitence over the dances previous than truly dancing. Maybe the over-sustaining pedaling aggravated us. Solely the Gavotte with six doubles, a precursor of the variations to be heard later in this system, raised the spirits.
Mozart’s Sonata Okay.332 with its temper swings naturally invited a high-contrast interpretation, besides that it went excessive. Some sforzandi appeared exaggerated to the purpose of rudeness, whereas rushed quick passages sounded smooshed.
By the start of Mendelssohn’s Variations Serieuses, we already anticipated excessive swings of the tempi. Within the first variation, Trifonov constructed up pressure masterfully — like a mighty spring being tightly wound, to unload within the following ones. However, devoted to the general spirit of the recital, the D-Main Adagio slowed right down to a trance-like stage. It supplied a setup for a construct as much as a frantic end, identical to the composer supposed. However the vary from torpid adagio to a mad sprint for the mighty coda jogged my memory a Fellini’s episode with a sports activities automobile slowly crawling by crooked medieval streets of Rimini earlier than roaring right into a triumphant traversal of a small piazza.
Contrasts are likely to fulfill nonetheless, and this finale definitely did; the inertia of speedy motion propelled the viewers out of their chairs as quickly because the pianist hit the brakes.
Because the viewers settled in post-intermission, the mighty chords of Allegro of the Hammerklavier Sonata quickly introduced us to consideration. The piece de resistance of the night unfolded with much less extra than the primary half. To make certain, some somewhat idiosyncratic and self-indulgent moments appeared right here and there within the Allegro. In some unspecified time in the future, an extreme rubato appeared to magnify the jagged strains to the purpose of disconnecting the left hand from the precise, however the energy of Beethoven’s structure firmly took cost. The recapitulation landed firmly and triumphantly, after which the Scherzo pumped up vitality and suspense. The Adagio constructed up organically as a single stunning take with no cuts, to proceed the cinematic analogy. After which because the mighty fuga developed and rolled out, it gave an opportunity and an area to the nine-foot monster to roar to its full glory. I had heard extra coronary heart stopping Adagios on this sonata however couldn’t recall anybody who surpassed Trifonov’s high-octane drive within the fuga.
Simply as our appreciation of the Hammerklavier swelled to its highest stage, the pianist inexplicably dove into his Artwork Tatum’s encore, as if the trainer has left, and we have been now free to play what we actually like. Somewhat misplaced on this system, it might need made sense solely from one angle: as a good way to assuage the fears famously expressed by Rachmaninov that Tatum might take all classical pianists out of enterprise. Trifonov might out-Tatum anybody…besides maybe that supreme Jazz Man Himself.
The second encore, a languid and Skriabinesque Epilogue from Chopin Variations by Mompou, introduced again Trifonov, the snake-whisperer. After the jolts of the night, we undoubtedly welcomed that tranquilizer.