Live Music: Jeffrey Kahane plays and conducts Beethoven’s piano concertos

Jeffrey KahaneWe all return to Boettcher Concert Hall to see if Jeffery can pull off the two remaining concertos, Nos. 1 and 5. He does so with the same composure we’ve come to admire fondly. The impossibility of the task is less imposing now that we’ve seen him do it a few times, but I’m still amazed at his combination of confidence and levity. The way his hands float over the keyboard is incongruous with the great variety of sounds coming out of the piano. (Not to mention the orchestra he conducts simultaneously.)

ConcertgoersI wonder what Beethoven would think if he could witness this performance of his work. How much has changed since he was in Jeffrey’s place? Jeffrey’s playing is not bulletproof, I can detect a little overlap of notes here and there. I wonder if the composer himself made mistakes in his performances, or was ever satisfied with them? For our family this is probably as sophisticated a display of Beethoven-like mastery as we’re likely to see, so I can’t help but imagine audiences two centuries ago gathering by candlelight for a comparable performance. Maybe a family like ours took the trouble to gather for such a performance, and left full of respect and a fresh awe of the experiences we can share.

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