Great review from Bachtrack

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© Jurmala Festival

On Wednesday night I performed Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No.1 at the Jurmala Festival in Latvia. The audience were so warm and I enjoyed the performance. I had to play 3 encores! I just saw a great review from Alexander Hall writing for Bachtrack. So I thought I would share it with you here:

“Harliono has already appeared with the Mariinsky Orchestra under Gergiev, so he has already been making waves. Having heard the great Martha Argerich less than a month ago in the celebrated Tchaikovsky warhorse, I was fearful of his chances of equalling, never mind eclipsing, that experience. I needn’t have worried. There are of course many ways to ride a horse and, as equine specialists will tell you, these animals are individuals in their own right. This version of the B flat minor reminded me more of a pet filly, responding appreciatively to gentle stroking, rather than any death-defying heroics on the battlefield. At least in the opening movement, where Harliono seemed to be savouring each separate note, taking all the time in the world to stress the composer’s melodic train of thought and poetic line. When those crashing double octaves came, they resembled less a fusillade of rapid gunfire than a powerful statement of logical punctuation. It is also rare to witness repeated smiles of satisfaction playing on a soloist’s lips, not out of any smugness, but confirmation that at that particular moment in time there was no other way of playing all those notes with such conviction. Perhaps inspired by Harliono’s complete identification with this work, the orchestra under Rubiķis raised their game somewhat, though without matching the intensity of his playing. There was a Mendelssohnian lightness to the central Andantino and, to continue the equine imagery, by the time the finale was launched, it was like watching the massed cavalry appearing over the crest of a hill, their hooves pounding the ground imperiously. The great warhorse lives to fight another day.”

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