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Trifonov glitters at Tanglewood / The Boston Musical Intelligencer

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BSO music director Andris Nelsons led a modest, Baroque-flavored program at Tanglewood on Friday: Ravel's Le tombeau de Couperin, Haydn's Symphony No. 83 (La poule), Thomas Adès's Three Studies from Couperin, and Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 21. It wasn't to everyone's taste. No one, however, had a bad word for the keyboard soloist, the Russian Daniil Trifonov, whose commanding performance of the Mozart and a Prokofiev encore sent all home happy.      

Boston was graced this past season with two superb BSO performances of Mozart piano concertos: 92-year-old Menahem Pressler in No. 27 with Moritz Gnann and 71-year-old Radu Lupu in No. 24 with Nelsons. The 26-year-old Trifonov's traversal of No. 21 was on that level. The concerto begins with a stealthy march that suggests children at play, and when the second theme eventually appears, it is indeed a child's game. Trifonov approached the piece as if playing Schumann's Kinderszenen (which he had done two days earlier, in Ozawa Hall). He was self-possessed and also self-effacing; his tone pearly but not mushy, he established a firm bass without pounding and managed to sound thoughtful without slowing down. The playful second theme, integrated with the first, became chaste, especially in his exploration during the cadenza.

The famous Andante was sumptuously bittersweet, emphasis on bitter. Trifonov was so calm, so patient, his tone so limpid, his phrasing so weighted, so inevitable, he could have been Dinu Lipatti. He was more animated in the final movement, although even there he started sotto voce before erupting into exuberance. There was one encore, equally animated, the mincing Gavotte from Prokofiev's Cinderella.  READ THE FULL Boston Musical Intelligencer REVIEW