I’ve been in Denver this week partially because my dad bought the whole family tickets to a phenomenal series of four concerts over two weekends, a Rachmaninoff Festival. This has proved difficult to explain to our friends who don’t partake of classical music, and our shifting and complex plans (like Ann going to Mexico during the week) haven’t made it easier. All I can say is that I feel like it has been our opportunity to witness a piece of history. Our favorite pianist, Olga Kern, has played all four Rachmaninoff Piano Concertos. These are some of the most dramatic and difficult pieces a classical pianist can tackle, and our conductor Jeffry Kahane announced that no one else has attempted the feat in a series of four concerts. Several other difficult Rachimaninoff piano pieces were added for good measure, all in a setting of Rachmaninoff’s choral and symphonic works.
This video isn’t from the festival, but it does feature Olga Kern playing (just a part of) one of the concertos:
A week of this music has been incredible, and I’m more convinced than ever that Olga Kern is pianist of nearly inhuman ability, but full of human life and passion. The performances ended perfectly when she sat down for a duet with conductor Jeffry Kahane, whom we also love, for a crazy duet involving switching places midway through. I felt a few tears well up, knowing I’ll probably never witness anything like this again.