Saturday and Monday nights will see another great set of concerts in this already stellar season. The big surprise for this week? The Britten Piano Concerto. Never heard of it? Well, neither had I, before this season’s repertoire was announced. We had our rehearsals with pianist Stephen Osborne over the last two days, and the piece is stunning, as is Osborne’s pianism. This piece has everything that you’d want from a piano concerto. Super fast runs of notes all over the keyboard – check. Beautiful melodies – check. Interesting orchestration – check. Kick ass parts for all of the sections of the orchestra – check. And it’s good music, too. Britten really was the Mozart of the 20th century. What a genius. I have not yet encountered a work of his that I haven’t liked. You’ll love this piece. If you saw the programming – starting with Strauss’ Don Juan and ending with Mozart’s Jupiter Symphony, with the Britten in the middle – and thought to yourself “they’re giving me the classic shit sandwich”*, you’re mistaken. It’s all delicious, healthy goodness from beginning to end.
*A standard orchestral programmer’s tactic whereby a “distasteful” modern or obscure older work is sandwiched between two beloved warhorses in order to make it more palatable to the prospective ticket buyer.