Susanna Mälkki, conductor
Mitsuko Uchida, piano
Karol Szymanowski: Concert Overture
Arnold Schönberg: Piano Concerto
Antonín Dvořák: Symphony No. 8
Waltz, Scherzo, Adagio and Rondo. Schönberg’s piano concerto is like chamber music for a hundred musicians. But what challenges does the concerto pose to its soloist? Pianist Mitsuko Uchida begins her response by taking a breath and tapping her forehead with her forefinger: “An enormous amount of brainwork! It needs devotion, energy and you must be stubborn to want to learn!”
The same words could be used to describe the stage charisma of Uchida – a huge amount of energy and dedication condensed into one person. Uchida is widely revered as piano nobility with her iconic recordings and performances. “Her name is mentioned in the same breath as great pianists of yesteryear like Schnabel and Rachmaninov” (ABC Classic). Uchida and Pierre Boulez’s recording of Schönberg’s Piano Concerto won the Gramophone magazine’s award for Best Concert Recording.
Antonín Dvořák composed his Eighth Symphony on the occasion of his election to the Bohemian Academy of Science, Literature and Arts in 1889. The symphony earned more academic acclaim the following year when Dvořák conducted it in England after receiving an honorary doctorate from the University of Cambridge. Despite its academic beginnings, the symphony is loose and natural, one of the composer’s most delightful works.