The Boulder Philharmonic and Benjamin Hochman are stunning!

After the intermission, the pianist, Benjamin Hochman, joined the orchestra and performed Ravel’s Piano Concerto in G Major.

After hearing Benjamin Hochman perform the Ravel, it should be obvious to anyone in the audience that all of us heard a world-class pianist. What was so startling about his performance was the ease with which he played. In order to be accurate, which he was, and in order to shape the phrases the way the composer wishes at the tempo the composer demands, one has to be totally relaxed physically and mentally. Every performer, whether a violinist, a singer, or a pianist, becomes nervous immediately before they enter the stage. But, after they begin to perform, and after the first few measures of the piece, they must know it so well mentally, and be so competent physically, that they can relax and enjoy making the music. You must understand, that the reason one becomes a performing artist, is because there is joy in it, and so many people who are not performing musicians seem to miss this point. Benjamin Hochman is one of the most relaxed pianists that I have seen in several years. He was totally at ease and able to concentrate totally on the job that he enjoys so much. He plays so unbelievably well, there is no need to make the extravagant motions that some pianists make, as if they are saying, “Look how I lifted my hand from the keyboard. Isn’t that terribly expressive and indicative of my great sensitivity?” Hochman simply sits down at the piano, and through the music, shows us what a remarkable artist he is and how remarkable the music is.

His reliable musicianship (And even that seems silly to say. If he was not reliable, he wouldn’t be where he is) obviously made it much easier for Maestro Butterman to make music as well, and I was under the distinct impression that they truly enjoyed working together. And of course every performance is much easier if there is mutual respect.

The tempos taken were absolutely perfect: full of energy and drive. Ravel often said that the piano was his favorite instrument and it certainly shows in this composition, for he uses the piano’s expressive ability to the fullest potential. In addition, the orchestration of the piece, which is remarkable, supports everything that the piano executes. But it was Hochman’s relaxation that made his performance look so easy and sound so absolutely marvelous. His hands and arms never once became rigid or tense, and mentally, he was absolutely beyond compare.

I hope there were some aspiring pianists in the audience who could recognize why his playing is so artistically perfect. It will certainly give them something to strive for, and at the same time, give them the awareness that their goal is entirely realistic.

Opus Colorado
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