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Yefim Bronfman's performance of Beethoven's Piano Concertos Nos. 3 and 4 with the San Diego Symphony at Copley Hall was a joy to patrons disappointed by the illness that kept him away from Concerto No. 5 on April 24 (Jon Kimura Parker substituted), and Concertos 1 and 2 on April 29 (Orli Shaham substituted).

Bronfman's command of the music was evident immediately, exhibiting an astonishing dynamic range ranging from a barely audible pianissimo to a soul-shaking triple fortissimo that reverberated throughout the hall. His playing was full of robust power, refined nuance, jollity, and a passion befitting the composer.

Tingling suspense and abrupt surprise whirled in an elaborate chase as Bronfman first toyed with us, then pounced on opportunities with the spontaneity and quick reflexes of a cat. Hushed entrances crept in between echoes of a thunder setting the audience upright in their seats, and built again with deliberate and measured ferocity into -- who knows? -- another cannonade, perhaps, or a tongue-in-cheek musical side-step by way of yet another delayed resolution, false cadence, or other musical joke of which Beethoven was so fond.

  • Concert: Yefim Bronfman with San Diego Symphony
  • Date: May 1
  • Venue: Copley Symphony Hall
  • Seats: Mezzanine 1
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