The Boston Philharmonic’s 2013-14 season begins with high drama. Prokofiev and Tchaikovsky, two composers who operate at the extremes of expression. Prokofiev with his devastating sarcasm, and Tchaikovsky with his bigness of soul. Both of these masters are represented by an iconic work, a piece absolutely central to his own development as a composer.
Prokofiev’s Second Piano Concerto has become one of the most popular concertos in the repertory. Apart from its tremendously powerful and dark drama, the reason lies in the spectacular nature of the demands made on the pianist. No other concerto requires such sustained power from the soloist, or the ability to negotiate passage work that is as awkward to play as it is thrilling to hear. It is amazing just to SEE this piece performed! The sensational Chinese pianist Jue Wang has become famous for his staggering playing of this mighty work. His Boston debut will be one of the highlights of the season.
The Tchaikovsky Fifth Symphony is, of course, a great favorite with audiences, and is known to just about everybody. But Mr. Zander’s take on the piece is bracing and fresh. He has performed it many times, in many parts of the world, and always audiences are stirred by the experience of having the familiar made new again.