MUSIC REVIEWS : Trio of Pianists Covers Familiar Turf
Capitalizing on the success of the “Three Tenors” concept, Lalo Schifrin invited three pianists to the latest Glendale Symphony concert and sold out the house.
Predictably, the most enthusiastic audience response came at encore time, when the three pianists--Lincoln Mayorga, John Novacek and Mark Richman--sat down at the same piano and performed six-hand arrangements of “The Entertainer” and “When the Saints Go Marchin’ In.” Who said vaudeville was dead?
Having announced his retirement from the music directorship of the orchestra earlier in the week, Schifrin took a back seat in the whole affair Saturday night at the Alex Theatre, serving as serviceable accompanist in three concertos. The orchestra played efficiently.
Novacek was first up to bat, with the Piano Concerto by Grieg. He took a disciplined, patrician approach to the work, which is not to say dull. Crisp inflection, purposeful phrasing and poised voicing characterized his reading, which also conveyed a nice sense of musical sentence, clause, punctuation and paragraph. Tasteful yet involved.
Richman offered Rachmaninoff’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, in a dry-eyed, clear-headed account. He seemed to give everything its due but not a jot more, and proved rock-solid technically and judicious in tempo. He ended the work with two forte chords, a la Rachmaninoff himself (reportedly). The soft ending is cuter.
Mayorga dispatched Gershwin’s Concerto in F after intermission. He sounded so at ease with the style--rhythmically snazzy and casual as need be, light and frothy throughout--that it occasionally sounded very much like coasting, for instance, in the repeated-note motif in the agitato finale, or in the return of the big theme at the end. A little more fire was wanted, that’s all.