On 11 December pianist Piers Lane performed Busoni’s rarely-performed, herculean piano concerto at Carnegie Hall with the American Symphony Orchestra, receiving standing ovations from the audience and stunning reviews, including one from Allan Kozinn in the New York Times:
“…Mr. Botstein led his orchestra at Carnegie Hall in a program that brought together Busoni’s Piano Concerto in C (op. 39) and Liszt’s “Faust” Symphony, two works that have vehement constituencies but are rarely heard because they are sprawling and, in the case of the Busoni, challenging for both orchestra and soloist.
This concerto, which clocked in at around 72 minutes on Sunday (the program notes estimated that it should take 64 minutes; the timing in the published score is 80) offers a pianist relatively little time to rest, and most of that is in the last of its five expansive movements.
Piers Lane, an Australian pianist based in London, seemed undaunted by its demands. His playing had everything this work requires: drive, athleticism and muscularity, certainly, but also lyricism and shapeliness where Busoni allowed room for them. Mr. Lane was particularly bracing in the fourth movement, “All’Italiana,” which begins as a tarantella and spins into a shimmering fantasy.”