By Dave Read, Lenox, MA, August 6, 2023 performance – The most important and the most difficult part of reporting on concerts is to get the temple within ready to receive the music about to be produced in the temple without – at Tanglewood, it’s the Shed, consecrated to the memory of Serge Koussevitsky.
My last errant thought before today’s concert was, “We can land a man on the moon, but we can’t make a double piano?” One of these days, I’ll do a little research, just to see how close some fellow daydreamer has come to designing such an instrument.
Who knows if such an idea has ever occurred to the Dutch brothers Lucas and Arthur Jussen, who performed the Mendelssohn Concerto in E for two pianos and orchestra, on a pair of shiny black pianos that looked like a single object.
As much as the brothers may resemble one another at rest, today’s aural delight was augmented by the visual of them playing – one with his head tilted back in as if in ecstasy, the other bowed over the keyboard with vehemence, then vice versa as dictated by Mendelsshon’s score.
Some extra measure of genius must’ve been employed by the composer to create something like a duet within a duet. To my non-expert mind, a concerto is a duet between some instrument and the orchestra. With two instruments, although united in their conversation with the orchestra, they do not echo one another, but must converse so well with one another, that the orchestra – and the audience, hears the single voice.
And so the genius of the composition become measure after measure of gorgeous sound thanks to the artistry of the Jussen brothers and the Boston Symphony Orchestra under the expert baton of toady’s guest conductor, in his Tanglewood debut, Kazuki Yamada. Maestro Yamada is about to become chief conductor of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra.
After intermission, audience was treated to Symphonie fantastique, Episode from the life of an artist, Opus 14, by Hector Berlioz. It seemed a perfect selection for a perfect summer afternoon in the Berkshires.
Kazuki Yamada, conductor
Lucas and Arthur Jussen, pianos
MENDELSSOHN Concerto in E for two pianos and orchestra
BERLIOZ Symphonie fantastique