Berezovsky does Beethoven

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Berezovsky does Beethoven

Boris Berezovsky first sat at a piano at the age of 5. Twenty-nine years later, the Russian-born pianist has cemented his reputation as one of the finest interpreters of the instrument. Winning the top honor at the Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow in 1990 gave him the critical push onto the world stage. He has since appeared with the philharmonic orchestras in New York, Los Angeles, London and Moscow.
Mr. Berezovsky will be in Seoul on Sunday to perform Beethoven’s complete piano concertos. Yes, complete: all five concertos will be played in full, beginning with No. 1 in C Major at 4 p.m. and, two intermissions later, finishing with a flourish with Piano Concerto No. 5 in E-flat Major, known as the “Emperor” Concerto. Wear comfortable clothes.
With Moscow his city of birth, it is unsurprising that Mr. Berezovsky has been called upon to deliver the works of fellow countrymen Rachmaninov, Tchaikovsky and Mussorgsky. He has delivered on that front, his long list of recordings full of both well-known and more obscure composers of Russian birth.
But when asked how his roots might have affected his choice of music or performance style, he has said, “There were a great many different pianists, and I’m following a tradition of some of them. I was influenced by a great many Canadian, American and European pianists. I’m a follower of great pianists, but not traditions.”
Mr. Berezovsky has already begun to record the crucial staples of Beethoven’s oeuvre, with concertos No. 1 and 2 in 2001 and No. 3 in 2002, both on the Simax label with the Swedish Chamber Orchestra.
When he made his London debut, The Times wrote, “He is a pianist of dazzling virtuosity and formidable power.” His towering frame and large hands ― a vision conjuring up the hulking visage of Rachmaninov himself ― aside, the “power” Mr. Berezovsky is known for isn’t necessarily one of strength, but rather of bringing forth the hidden, delicate textures of a piece. There’s no better match for the Beethoven works, which in all their imposing grandeur still bear traces, particularly in their adagio movements, of the Beethoven to come: the lush emotionality of his late string quartets, ringing in new capabilities of expression.

by Jason Zahorchak

Boris Berezovsky will perform the complete Beethoven piano concertos at the Seoul Arts Center, southern Seoul, beginning at 4 p.m. on Sunday. Visit for tickets; prices range from 30,000 won ($25.50) to 90,000 won.
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