Georgian classical pianist Khatia Buniatishvili plays the Piano Concerto in A minor, Op. 16 by Edvard Grieg. Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse conducted by Tugan Sokhiev. Composed in 1868, it was the only concerto that the Norwegian composer completed. It is one of Grieg’s most popular works and among the most popular of all piano concerti.
The concerto is in three movements:
- Allegro molto moderato (A minor)
- Adagio (D-flat major)
- Allegro moderato molto e marcato – Quasi presto – Andante maestoso (A minor → F major → A minor → A major)
The first movement is noted for the timpani roll in the first bar that leads to a dramatic piano flourish. The movement is in the Sonata form. The movement finishes with a virtuosic cadenza and a similar flourish as in the beginning.
The second movement is a lyrical movement in D-flat major, which leads directly into the third movement.
The third movement opens in A minor 4/4 time with an energetic theme (Theme 1), which is followed by a lyrical theme in F major (Theme 2). The movement returns to Theme 1. Following this recapitulation is the 3/4 A major Quasi presto section, which consists of a variation of Theme 1. The movement concludes with the Andante maestoso in A major, which consists of a dramatic rendition of Theme 2 (as opposed to the lyrical fashion with which Theme 2 is introduced).
At 88, Artur Rubinstein showed no trace of losing that quality of joie de vivre (a French phrase often used in English to express a cheerful enjoyment of life; an exultation of spirit) that had so fascinated audiences for almost three quarters of a century. The true Rubinstein sound, full and sonorous at every pitch, was always one of the distinctive marks of his playing ever since he began appearing in public. Rubinstein’s performance of Grieg’s ever-popular piano concerto, accompanied by the London Symphony Orchestra under André Previn, is a perfect testimony of his notion of a “singing tone.”With playing that is by turns vital and poetic, extroverted and reflective, rhapsodic and poised, this performance, filmed in April 1975 at London’s Fairfield Hall, is Rubinstein at his warm-hearted, lyrical best.
Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse
The Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse is a French orchestra based in Toulouse. It acts as both a symphony orchestra whose main residence is Toulouse’s Halle aux Grains, and the permanent orchestra of the Théâtre du Capitole in Toulouse.
Initially with the name Orchestre du Capitole de Toulouse, past music directors of the orchestra have included André Cluytens (beginning in 1932) and Georges Prêtre (1951–1955). The Orchestre du Capitole rose to prominence during Michel Plasson’s tenure as music director, from 1968 to 2003.