The Cliburn finalists play two concertos, one from a preselected list of Classical Era concertos, and one of their own choosing. In the past, each session of the final round featured one performance from the former group and one from the latter. This year, though, they're playing the Classical concertos in the same sessions on the early nights of the round and then letting us hear the more modern works later. We'll see how well that works out, and if we get fatigued from listening from so much Rachmaninov and Prokofiev at once.
Bozhanov turns in an alert, commanding performance of Chopin's First Concerto. He's particularly stylish in the slow second movement, turning the piano part into delicious little curlicues of sound. Then he plays the third movement with great rhythmic zest. He magnifies his sound so that he stands out from the orchestra without losing the essential beauty of his tone, and he applies clever little interpretive touches everywhere in the music. This performance is thoroughly delightful, and as good as he's been, I don't think we've seen everything he can do yet. Can't wait to find out.