What does an orchestra do when a soloist injures his hand just days before a scheduled concerto appearance? One option is to find a replacement soloist. The Utah Symphony this weekend opted instead for a change of repertoire.
Nicholas Angelich, making only his second appearance in Abravanel Hall since he won the Gina Bachauer International Piano Competition in 1994, performed Ravel's Concerto for Piano Left Hand in place of the scheduled Schumann Piano Concerto. And if listeners hadn't known better, they easily could have been fooled into thinking Angelich was using both hands, thanks to his fluid and assured technique. Ravel is one of the all-time masters of orchestral coloration, and Angelich made full and vibrant use of the assortment of colors the composer gave him. The Utah Symphony, under music director Thierry Fischer, likewise adapted beautifully to the change of plans, reveling in all that Ravelicious color.
Bookending the concerto, in honor of this week's Valentine's Day holiday, were two familiar works inspired by Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet." First up was Prokofiev's ballet music in all its episodic glory. Even a listener who had never seen the often-performed ballet or the play on which it is based could get a clear picture of the dynamic between the Montague and Capulet families, the brashness of Juliet's cousin Tybalt, or the haunting scene in Juliet's tomb.