Home #Hwoodtimes Pierre-Laurent Aimard Brings to Life Beethoven’s Fourth Concerto with the LA Phil

Pierre-Laurent Aimard Brings to Life Beethoven’s Fourth Concerto with the LA Phil

Pierre-Laurent Aimard and His Piano (Photo by Marco Borggreve)

Pierre-Laurent Aimard Brings to Life Beethoven’s Fourth Concerto with the LA Phil

Conducted by Eva Ollikainen, French Pianist Pierre-Laurent Aimard played an inspired version of Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 4 in G major at the Walt Disney Concert Hall

By John Lavitt

Los Angeles, CA (The Hollywood Times) 05-15-2023

At the Walt Disney Concert in the middle of May, Spring came forth with Pierre-Laurent Aimard’s inspired rendition of Ludwig Van Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 4 in G major. Playing with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, led by Finnish conductor Eva Ollikainen, Pierre-Laurent Aimard created an atmosphere that reflected the seasonal changes in the air. As a result, the opening of the rendition felt like a young child jubilantly running through a park on the first day of spring, celebrating the passing of the snow and the blossoming of the green.

With a complex and layered intoxication, Beethoven’s Fourth Concerto reveals the composer’s brilliance. The concerto’s passion and precision are perfectly balanced. Once again, the LA Philharmonic presents a program that reflects the best of contemporary music. Reflecting this delicate balance, Pierre-Laurent Aimard plays with a fervor that respects every note while also being perfectly inclusive of the entire orchestra. Rather than separating himself in his starring role, he collaborates in such a manner that brings the best out of all the musicians on stage.

Moreover, respecting his presence, Eva Ollikainen, the Artistic Leader and Chief Conductor of the Iceland Symphony Orchestra since 2020, conducts with a restraint that barely defies her unbridled enthusiasm. A genuinely compelling presence on stage, she was willing to take a back seat to the genius of Pierre-Laurent Aimard’s performance. Indeed, together with the genius pianist, they led the orchestra in a beautiful rendition that captured the complexity and wonders of Beethoven. From the beginning to the end, the two artists were partners in paying homage to one of the greatest classical composers of all time.

Eva Ollikainen Conducting (Photograph by Nikolaj Lund)Eva Ollikainen presented the U.S. premiere of ARCHORA by Icelandic composer Anna Thorvaldsdóttir in the second half. In a positive yet jarring transition, it was like going from the spring day that ended in a light thunderstorm to the onset of the apocalypse. Firm and definitive, it is not surprising that Anna Thorvaldsdóttir has been called “one of the most distinctive voices in contemporary music” by National Public Radio. ARCHORA is an implosive excavation that overwhelms the audience with a sense of trepidation and consequence.

As a conductor, Eva Ollikainen is freed to be 100% herself when leading the LA Philharmonic in the battering ram expression of ARCHORA. Like a Viking Shield Maiden, she uses her entire body to defend and optimize the music and the orchestra. You feel her passion for the music as you watch her swaying movements that almost replace the baton’s leadership with her arms and legs. There is a reason why she has been described as a “powerhouse,” and she brought all of her passion and power to the Walt Disney Concert Hall.

Photos by Marco Borggreve and Nikolaj Lund