Hochman plays Bartok Piano Concerto No. 3

Hochman led the work with refreshing calm, clarity, and friendliness: almost every note seemed to wear a smile. In his hands, the opening melody with its unpredictable warbles felt like a natural conversation starter. And the Philharmonic proved a receptive partner, particularly in the second movement’s “Andante religioso,” where gorgeously blended chorale textures from strings, winds, and soloist were carried by a gentle breeze. Against this backdrop, the nature sounds of the movement’s middle section, usually considered a classic example of Bartók’s “night-music,” readily evoked the coming of dawn.
In the finale, the orchestra brilliantly executed Bartók’s swings from folk dance to Baroque dance, so that Hochman’s return to the stage for a Bach Sarabande was a perfect companion. Indeed, Hochman’s encore demonstrated enlightening continuity with his approach to the Bartók, respecting the integrity of each individual tone and embracing the silences in between them.

Leo SarbanesThe Boston Globe