Saturday, May 30, 2009

Evgeni Bozhanov (chamber music)

More terrific stuff on the chamber music front from the Bulgarian. He played Cesar Franck's piano quintet, and I think I put my finger on why the Franck is so unpopular among Cliburn pianists. It's the darkest, most angst-ridden of the four quintets on offer, but most of the angst is expressed through the string players and not the piano. Most of the time, the piano is simply accompanying the strings as they saw away. It's seldom front and center.

Perhaps for this reason, and perhaps because this was the only performance of the piece that they had to play, the Takacs players sank their teeth wholeheartedly into the music. As for Bozhanov, he wasn't always comfortable in the background of the action, but he embraced his role and set the tempo efficiently, especially in the driving first movement. It added up to a powerful piece of music-making, the best chamber performance so far.

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