Power and finesse - Joseph Moog plays Rachmaninov in Rome

Orchestra Sinfonica di Roma conducted by Gregorio Goffredo at the Auditorium Conciliazione – 1 December, 2013

Joseph Moog
Photo by Paul Marc Mitchell
The prodigiously talented young German concert pianist Joseph Moog turns twenty-six later this month, but he already has an impressive number of critically acclaimed recordings to his name, including last year's highly praised CD of Rubinstein & Rachmaninov Concertos. I was delighted, therefore, when I learned that he would be performing Rachmaninov with the Orchestra Sinfonica di Roma at the Auditorium Conciliazione.

There's no denying that Rachmaninov's Piano Concerto n.2 is something of a warhorse, forever associated with the film Brief Encounter and even borrowed in the pop ballad All By Myself, yet it remains enduringly popular and irresistibly wonderful. Moog's reading during Sunday's afternoon concert was effortlessly authoritative from the opening bell-like chords, and was played with a warm, yet muscular tone, and brilliantly articulated pianism. The grandeur of Moog's technical ability was matched by an imposing stage presence, whilst Maestro Goffredo - winner of the Rachmaninov International Piano Competition for two consecutive editions in 1982 and 1983 – encouraged a lush, sweeping accompaniment from the orchestra. It was a hugely enjoyable performance. Rapturous applause greeted the close of the concerto and the audience was rewarded with an exquisite Debussy solo encore from the pianist.

The afternoon was rounded out by a zealous performance of another perennial favourite, Tchaikovsky's Symphony n. 4.

Full programme:
Hebrides Overture
Piano Concerto n. 2
Trois Images Oubliées
Symphony n. 4