As the cold winter gripped the air outside Jefferson Center – the RSO warmed the hearts of everyone in Shaftman Hall during its second of two sold out Valentine’s weekend shows. With selections embracing a romantic theme, this masterworks concert delivered on every note and at every level. In choosing Beethoven’s “Pastorale” Symphony, it was as if Maestro Wiley knew the audience would be fatigued by the long snowy winter and would need visions of spring. The themes and melodies unfolded in a leisurely pace – like a gentle stroll on a lazy summer day. The gentle birdcalls flowed exquisitely from the woodwinds at the end of “Scene by a Brook” – perfectly capturing Beethoven’s melancholy farewell to his declining hearing.
To further melt the hearts of ladies everywhere, the dashing Armenian pianist, Tavit Tashjian, dazzled with his vibrant smile and feathery light fingering of the piano keys. The Cyprus born Armenian pianist — a 23 year old rising star – made his debut with RSO & Maestro Wiley, brilliantly delivering the bold youthful romance of the great Rachmaninoff third concerto with a depth and maturity way beyond his years. The audience was fixated as he passionately played the nearly 40-minute piece without a glimpse of fatigue – but rather with vibrance, power and grace.
The Maestro – clearly feeling the music from his fingertips to his toes — almost waltzed with his gestures as he led the musician into the final and exhilarating movement of Rachmaninoff. The sold out crowd burst to their feet for a standing ovation filled with thunderous applause and raucous shouts of approval.
David Stewart Wiley and the RSO consistently deliver brilliant and creative performances – but this one was different. From the charm and intimacy of the pre-concert Illuminations to soaring melodies of Beethoven’s “Pastorale” and the roaring march of Rachmaninoff’s opus 30 to the final note of the second encore, David Stewart Wiley and Tavit Tashjian delivered a performance capable of thawing the coldest of hearts.By Stephanie Koehler [email protected]