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Lucas Debargue provides core understanding for 'TripAdvisor' audience / The Boston Musical Intelligencer

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Boston Philharmonic's theme of geographic connectivity among the three composers on its program at Sanders last night resulted in a concert significantly more interesting than a Trip Advisor's ‘Three-in-One Visegrád Group' excursion.

Lucas Debargue, who played this concerto in the final round of his successful stint at Tchaikovsky Competition, was just the ticket. In the concerto known for its ambiguous role of the piano - which seems to oscillate between accompanying other instruments and raging on its own - making some sense of the piano line seems to be the best way to make sense of the whole concerto. Debargue provided this core understanding at his first chance: he played the first big piano solo that ascends from chthonic rumblings with deliberate tension and seriousness. Whatever monstrous hero was being born in front of us, crawled out of his primordial mess with difficulty and determination. This sense of seriousness shone a light on the whole concerto, as it jumped between extremes. A sweet cello solo, beautifully played by the principal Rafael Popper-Keizer, got dutifully swept away by the monstrous march, crass enough despite lack of power in the brass section. This nasty transformation of a perfectly benign main theme carries a long tradition of alienating listeners.  But it all magically made sense this time.

READ THE FULL Boston Musical Intelligencer REVIEW