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Sunday, March 9, 2014

Gerard Schwarz and William Wolfram, a Seattle Dream Team



William Wolfram's performance last night of Richard Strauss' Burleske with Gerard Schwarz and Seattle Symphony simply ROCKED my world! Strauss' lush showpiece for piano and orchestra is a technical stunner, and Wolfram pushed its capacity from the inside out to extreme regions -- shattering power at one end, profound tenderness and humor at the other, and every gradation of feeling in between. His emotional capacity seems limitless, and as an audience member you feel privileged to be witnessing an utterly unique performance - an inspired, intensely personal statement that strikes once and can never be repeated. He'll perform the Burleske again, but never (you imagine) in precisely the same way.

It was so great to see SSO's Conductor Laureate, Maestro Gerard Schwarz, in the house again. You could feel the rush of affection from the audience as he strode onstage. On the bill: Don Juan, the Suite from Divertimento, Op. 86, and his own arrangement of the Suite from Der Rosenkavalier. Schwarz' intimate understanding of the music of Strauss, one of his favorites, produced an especially muscular, fiery, flexible and profound performance last night. I sat there thinking, WHY oh WHY can't I spend the rest of my life just sitting right here! I'm complete!

I caught up with William Wolfram earlier this week. He graces Benaroya's Nordstrom Recital Hall stage today at 2pm with SSO players in a concert featuring Dvorak and Poulenc, after which he's jetting off to perform Lizst's First Piano Concerto and Howard Hansons' Piano Concerto.