Regarded as one of the greatest works in the orchestral repertoire, Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No. 2 received a suitably epic performance Dec. 14 by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, guest conductor Jaap van Zweden and soloist Denis Kozhukhin. This video captures part of the third movement, with its thundering finale. In the Chicago Classical Review, Lawrence A. Johnson lauded the Rachmaninov, writing: “Kozhukhin … played with such innate authority, leonine command and poised yet unsentimental lyricism that he didn’t seem to be ‘interpreting’ the music at all. Rachmaninov’s long-limbed melodies were rendered with a supple poetic touch and natural empathy as much as Kozhukhin’s clarity and eruptive dynamism vaulted through the passages of breakout virtuosity. …The performance culminated in an exhilarating finale … the race to the coda thrillingly played by Kozhukhin, van Zweden and the orchestra with their soloist every step of the way.”
The program, which also features the Prelude from Act 1 of Wagner’s Lohengrin and Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5, repeats Dec. 15-16 and 19. For more information, click here.