Madison
76° F
Overcast
Overcast
Advertisement

Wineke review: Beethoven in March

Published On: Mar 08 2014 04:54:17 PM CST   Updated On: Mar 08 2014 05:21:38 PM CST
Ludwig van Beethoven W.J. Mahler painting

Public domain

MADISON, Wis. -

Close your eyes for just a second and conjure up a mental image of a concert pianist.

Yefim Bronfman probably isn’t it.

Bronfman, 55, is middle-aged, portly, doesn’t have Liberace hair and really isn’t a showman.

He crosses the stage of the Overture Center to participate in the March all Beethoven concert of the Madison Symphony Orchestra and sits down on a cushioned piano bench. Then magic starts to happen.

It’s not just that Bronfman is a good pianist. MSO music director John DeMain has been recruiting artists to Madison for 20 years. We just assume the guest artist is going to be good.

But when Bronfman lets his hands race across the keyboard, it’s something else. If you were to close your eyes again, you could imagine two or three pianists were hitting all those notes and racing through all those ranges.

The program included Bronfman playing Beethoven’s “Concerto Number 2 in B-flat Major for Piano and Orchestra” and his “Concerto Number 5 in B-flat Major for Piano and Orchestra,” better known to most of us as the “Emperor” concerto.

All told, those aforementioned fingers were flying for more than an hour, bringing the audience to its feet once and, then, again as Bronfman offered an encore.

Bronfman played here previously in 2003 and in 2008. He’s an audience favorite and it is good to see him back.

Also on the weekend program are Beethoven’s “Symphony Number One in C-major” and his “Overture to the Creatures of Prometheus.”

The concert was developed long before the season started last fall, but it turned out to be truly appropriate for this year.

Beethoven doesn’t evoke images of spring, of lithe fairies dancing through the warm meadows.

It’s too late for that kind of image this year. Beethoven’s music is stirring, powerful, angry. You can take Beethoven and stick his music right into winter’s eye and feel good about it.

What else can I say? It’s Beethoven and Bronfman. They’re a good combination. Go hear them.

Advertisement
  • Safest Cities - Honolulu

    Marco Garcia/Getty Images

    4. Honolulu, Hawaii

    US cities where residents feel safest

    Gallup-Healthways has ranked the safest U.S. cities.  How a city ranked on the list correlated to how it measured in perceived safety, financial security and sense of community. Click through for the top 20.

  • Takata

    CNN

    12 biggest auto recalls

    Over 2 million more vehicles were added to official lists of models being recalled because of potentially dangerous airbags made by Japanese manufacturer Takata. The recall now totals about 36 million vehicles worldwide. Take a look at the biggest auto recalls in history.

  • Fidel sign Cuba

    Getty Images

    Looking back: U.S.-Cuba relations

    The United States officially removed Cuba from its list of countries that sponsor terrorism on Friday . Get up to speed on the last five decades of American foreign policy toward Cuba.

Advertisement