Pictures at an Exhibition

I have always loved the classical piano, perhaps because Beethoven’s Piano Concertos and Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition were my introduction to classical music. Now that both my kids play strings instruments, chamber music has become more of a focus for our classical music enjoyment. However when I saw a few weeks ago, that Kirill Gerstein was  going to be performing Pictures at an Exhibition right here in Durham, I jumped on the opportunity. Not only to finally have an opportunity to experience one of my favorite musical pieces performed live, but by one of the best pianists alive, who also Russian … right here at Baldwin Auditorium!

So last night, Jacob and I headed into town to experience what turned out to be another amazing musical event on Duke’s East Campus. This was the program for that evening:

Haydn: Variations in F Minor
Schumann: Carnaval
Timo Andres: Old Friend
Mussorgsky: Pictures at an Exhibition

He also played a short Rachmaninov piece as an encore, after he got a rather enthusiastic ovation at the end of the concert.

After the concert, we stayed for a bit to wait for Gerstein to come out into the lobby where he signed CDs. I got one, too, and had him sign it. When he heard my German accent, he asked me where I am from and I told him that I am from Freiburg. Turns out he lives in Freiburg! And he teaches at the Musikhochschule in Stuttgart. We had a brief chat and he seems like a really nice guy.

Another cool thing that happened was this well dressed, older gentleman who walked up with his cane to Gerstein and told him, with his voice even a bit choked up, that “This was the most amazing concert of my life! Thank you!” People around the table all nodded in agreement – yes, this was indeed a great, impressive performance.

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