Restless, somber and dramatic: Mozart’s 20th concerto echoes in Riga with Wang’s piano

Concerts resumed. The third Riga Jurmala Music Festival continues at full speed on weekends during the summer in Latvia’s Riga and Jurmala cities.

Mozart’s 20th piano concerto in D minor, interpreted by the world-famous pianist Yuja Wang, echoed in the waves of the Baltic Sea.

Wang describes the concert as follows: “You just sit for 3 minutes. Because the turbulence from the orchestra I chose is too much and it takes time to internalize it.”

“You can try many different ways. You can play the same line very clearly and dramatically, or you can perform it more calmly,” he says about Wang Mozart’s compositions.

The piano virtuoso shines with the baton of the conductor Sir John Eliot Gardiner at the Riga Jurmala Music Festival

Gardiner Wang’s performance was “That’s what opera is, really. Theatricality permeates Mozart’s late concertos. The contrast created by the clear sound of the orchestra and the piano, which is like a prima donna, a kind of soprano, has an explosive effect.

“There is all the fire, anger, and confusion in this work,” Wang says.

The Pianist was accompanied by the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, Berlin Philharmonic, Concertgebouworkest, Oslo Philharmonic, Tonhalle Zurich and the Mariss Jansons Festival Orchestra, which included artists from the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestras.

Mozart played this piece on the fortepiano, which is much smaller and lighter than modern pianos.

Therefore, Wang said, “Gardiner instructed me not to use the pedals so that it would resemble a fortepiano. I can use the pedals to add color, but I have to do it one by one. It’s a different style, it’s like the piano is singing.”

Wang describes this work of special importance to him as “Written on February 10, 1785. When I found out about it, I was weird because it’s my birthday. So we were born on the same day as this piece.”

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