Temirkanov Returns to Lead CSO

To conclude our week-long spring break, my sister and I went to Friday’s CSO matinee concert, led by Maestro Yuri Temirkanov, who has returned to conduct the CSO after a 17-year absence. Temirkanov, who is currently the music director of Russia’s St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra, partnered up with pianist Denis Matsuev for Rachmaninoff’s notoriously difficult Piano Concerto No. 3 and led the CSO in a modest interpretation of Brahms’ Symphony No. 2. The Rachmaninoff proved to be the highlight of the afternoon, especially with Matsuev’s powerful and formidable performance combined with Temirkanov/CSO’s accompaniment. The solo cadenza in the first movement was captivating – I was sitting in the terrace section (left) so I could see some of the players’ faces in the first violin section, and you could just see their amazed expressions as Matsuev tore through the section with such ease. Matsuev’s encore was just as impressive: an avid jazz pianist as well, Matsuev gave a rousing jazz improvisation that totally took away both the audience and the orchestra players. The standing ovation and multiple curtain calls to follow were inevitable.

The Brahms Symphony No. 2 wasn’t as exciting as the Rach 3, with probably the best moments of the symphony residing towards the finale, but nonetheless, Temirkanov showed his trademark conducting technique, where his hands and eyes convey his musical ideas to the musicians rather than the traditional use of a baton to keep track of tempo. After the concert, my sister and I got to meet Maestro Temirkanov, who was SO FRIENDLY. Honestly, he was just so happy after the concert and kept on thanking my sister and me for coming to the concert (probably because we were the youngest fans there…) and we were just like “NO, THANK YOU FOR BEING AWESOME.” He was gracious to sign programs for us as well. Definitely a great way to end spring break!

I’m looking forward to returning back to Symphony Center these next couple of weeks throughout April for a variety of programs, which I’ll be sure to blog about! Maestro Muti is coming back for three different Shakespeare-inspired programs, and I cannot wait!

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