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After hearing 3/4's of pianist Olga Kern's Rachmaninoff marathon with the Colorado Symphony, I've run out of adjectives. I can't imagine anyone playing any piece of music any better. Actually, pieces. Tonight, she performed the 2nd sonata and the 4th piano concerto. Plus 2 encores. And she takes her encores every bit as seriously as the major pieces. Last Saturday, it was the 3rd piano concerto and Rhapsody on a Theme by Paganini. In the same concert! Last Friday, she just warmed up with the 1st concerto. What an unbelievable talent. She's one of those very rare musicians who have just phenomenal technique but still play with incredible emotion, and she can play soft and slow every bit as well as she can play loud and fast. Plus she gets bonus point by being so moved by the audience's response that she was on the verge of tears, tonight finally breaking down and shedding a few.

The down side is that sandwiched between these concerts I went to see the Colorado Ballet's production of Don Quixote. After hearing Rachmaninoff's very colorful music, the dull, unimaginative score for Don Quixote was a distraction that detracted from the production.

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Thanks for telling us about it, YouOverThere. I can't stand the score to Don Quixote, either.

Last Saturday, it was the 3rd piano concerto and Rhapsody on a Theme by Paganini. In the same concert!

You got your money's worth. Has anyone else heard Kern?

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One interesting tidbit: she wore 4 different dresses (I think it was only 4) for the 5 pieces that she played at the concerts I attended (for some reason, I decided to skip the final program to attend a concert by The King's Singers, a decision that I regret.). On the nights that she played 2 works, she changed in between them. I'm speculating that she feels that each piece has a color to it, but I haven't been able to confirm that.

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