Garrick Ohlsson, the only American to capture the top prize in the prestigious Frederick Chopin International Piano Competition, returns to Oklahoma City this week to perform with the Oklahoma City Philharmonic. He'll be the featured soloist in the “Piano Concerto No. 1 in D Minor” by Johannes Brahms.
Subtitled “Legends,” the third of eight concerts in the orchestra's classics series also will feature the “Suite No. 1” from Edvard Grieg's “Peer Gynt” and Franz Liszt's “Mephisto Waltz No. 1.” Joel Levine will conduct.
“With the ‘Mephisto Waltz,' we get the Faust legend,” Levine said. “It's a tone poem about a sleepy celebration that is taken over by Faust and Mephistopheles. And ‘Peer Gynt' is (Henrik Ibsen's) Norse legend that is set to some of Grieg's most beautiful music.”
Completed in 1858, Brahms' first piano concerto is epic both in terms of length, about 50 minutes, and pianistic demands that range from intricate technical displays to passages that require great stamina from the soloist.
The concerto's premiere in January 1859 was met with polite applause but little understanding on the part of the audience. Brahms wrote to his friend Joseph Joachim that his concerto had been “a brilliant and decisive failure.”
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