André Watts in the Grieg Concerto: Muscular but Measured

Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Jakub Hrusa (conductor), André Watts (piano), Music Center at Strathmore

The Grieg Piano Concerto inspired a mostly ponderous reading from Watts, with unusually broad tempos in the outer movements. Favoring structural clarity over dramatic sweep, Watts took his time building to thunderous climaxes and luxuriating in moonlit lyricism. Yet rather than yielding introspective insight, Watts’s muscular but measured approach felt unduly sober. Only in the majestic final bars did soloist and orchestra finally indulge in romantic fervor and virtuosic abandon. Until then, it was an overly serious performance of an old warhorse that needed to be ridden with freer rein.

Read the full review here (Washington Post, April 6, 2014).

Photo by Steve J. Sherman
Photo by Steve J. Sherman