I've been thinking a bit about performers who offer individual points
of view, rather than hit the marks of Interpretation. I was prompted
to this line of thought by a young pianist, Dmitri Vorobiev (born in
Moscow, now studying in Ann Arbor, Michigan), who played the "Emperor"
last Saturday in New Orleans. God knows how often I've heard this
concerto (and it's not even my favorite Beethoven piano concerto anyway),
but from the opening chords and arpeggios, I knew I was going to hear
something from this piece I hadn't heard before. Vorobiev didn't
disappoint: a tremendous first movement, an even better slow movement
(at one point, I silently formed the word "wow" with my lips), and a
decent finale. Still, it was a "young" interpretation (this was the
first time Vorobiev had played the piece in public), and I thought about
how much more he was going to get from it in ten years.
Would that the conductor, Emile de Cou, had kept pace with him. There
was nothing outright bad, but nothing that compelled my attention either.
The one reservation I had was that Vorobiev seemed to get noticeably
weaker by the last movement -- physically, not interpretively weaker.
In the first movement, he held his right fourth and fifth fingers high.
By the third, he was holding them low and "protectively." The attacks
became less sharp. I'm no pianist, so I have no idea how hard the
"Emperor" is on the hands, but I hope this isn't another case of
Another instance: I was driving and turned on the radio. Naturally, I
came in at the end of something: two measures of a piano piece I recognized
as a Bach work. But I also realized that someone fantastic had been
playing. Only two measures gave me that feeling. The announcer told
me it was Argerich on the Bach Partita No. 2 in c. Now THAT's a