" The Most Electrifying soloist of the Season."
Aided by a terrific piano soloist, Sheng Cai, who joined the NBSO for Beethoven's third piano concerto, this program capped a whirlwind series of concerts for the orchestra and its conductor hopefuls.
Meyer had not worked with piano soloist Sheng Cai-- but after this performance, here's betting that he will again. There was much to like about this performance.
A long orchestral introduction at the outset belies the nature of Beethoven's C minor concerto-much of the tempo, and dynamics, get determined by the soloist. But by the time Sheng unleashed the long cadenza, with its shifting dynamics, momentum had been firmly established.
Unlike the opening, the soloist dictates the tempo of the second movement Largo, and Sheng slowed everything down. Introspective, deeply felt, Sheng carved out a personal sounding approach to the movement. Meyer had the orchestra alert to his leadership, and followed astutely.
A much different tempo, but a similar result, sparked the finale. By the time soloist and ensemble reached the impossibly virtuosic coda, the audience expected-and received-nothing but excellence.
Meyer certainly chose the most challenging program of the season, but also performed with the most electrifying soloist of the season.
Posted at Thursday 21 Feb. 2017
-----By Keith Powers, Contributing Writer
South Coast TODAY New Bedford MA. USA 2017
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Sheng Cai, Pianist "Franz and Cai Wow Friday Audiences"
The nearly capacity audience at the morning concert Friday had come to hear that Mozart Concerto No. 24 in C minor K. 491 and they were not disappointed, the highlight naturally was the Mozart... His playing was punctuated with big tomato-ripe notes and gorgeously shaped passage work. The reflective second movement showed great sensitivity, but he is no less impressive in the third movement variations which alternated between turbulence and calm. His encore was equally thrilling.
--Ted Shaw, Arts Writer of Windsor Star Feb. 2013