Prom 60: Magical Cowell and fussy Mahler from the San Francisco Symphony and Michael Tilson Thomas

Jeremy Denk

Nowhere is this better exemplified than in his 1928 Piano Concerto, given a stunning performance – the first at the Proms - by the indefatigable Jeremy Denk alongside Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony, alongside the quirky Theme and Variations by Schoenberg, and Mahler’s magisterial First Symphony. 
Every moment felt exuberant; from the almost Emperor Concerto-like opening which alternates orchestral outbursts with percussive cadenzas featuring heavy use of the pianist’s whole forearm, to the affecting slow movement, combining the unique depth of sound clusters give with a lonely melody, this was real advocacy for Cowell’s style. 
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