Young BSO hands take good care of masterworks

February 03, 1997|By Stephen Wigler | Stephen Wigler,SUN MUSIC CRITIC

The all-Tchaikovsky program by the Baltimore Symphony in Meyerhoff Hall this past weekend delivered some good news: The future of the masterworks of the past is in good hands -- in this case those of Daniel Hege, the orchestra's 31-year-old assistant conductor, and of 21-year-old Terrence Wilson, the soloist in Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No. 1 in B-flat Minor.

That Hege is a conductor with big potential was demonstrated by the way he handled the composer's program-concluding "Capriccio Italien." This was a performance that bubbled with the excitement that comes when a conductor is not afraid to take some risks.

The coda of the piece was completely without inhibition, erupting in a reprise of the Neapolitan folk tune that could not have been more gloriously vulgar. Hege also did a fine job with Tchaikovsky's better-mannered homage to his favorite composer, Suite No. 4 ("Mozartiana"). The orchestral playing had an appropriately light touch, and the concluding movement was a delight, marred only by an out-of-tune rendition of the violin solo by concertmaster Herbert Greenberg.

Terrence Wilson's performance of the Tchaikovsky Concerto was nothing less than dazzling. There was enormous bravura -- this youngster has an octave technique to die for -- and there was as much warmth as glitter.

Wilson refused to let himself be seduced by his own spectacular abilities and let the huge climaxes of the first and last movement grow naturally out of the music. His imagination commands his terrific fingers to create a wide spectrum of tonal shadings and his sense of fantasy made the slow movement as delicately atmospheric as the corner movements were thrilling.

Wilson has shown enormous growth in the three appearances in four years he's made with the orchestra and he will undoubtedly grow even more. But this superb Tchaikovsky Concerto suggested in no uncertain terms he's one of the biggest pianistic talents to have emerged in this country in the last 25 years.

Pub Date: 2/03/97

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