Yefim Bronfman performs Bartók’s Piano Concerto No. 3 with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra conducted by Daniele Gatti. Despite his precarious situation Bartók wrote immensely vigorous, colourful and accurate music.
It is difficult to imagine that Béla Bartók composed his vigorous, colourful and assured Piano Concerto No. 3 while he was crushed by poverty, despair and a wasting illness. Shortly before the Nazis marched into Hungary, Bartók and his wife had fled to the United States, where he would die in humiliating circumstances. Compared with the previous two concertos, the Third Piano Concerto is also remarkably mild and classical in tone. It forms part of the development in Bartók’s style in his final years: the depressing circumstances of his daily life made him less inclined towards experimentation and modernism and his music gained a more romantic and poetical character.
Yefim Bronfman made his debut with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra in 1999. Since then, the well-known pianist has made solo appearances with the orchestra in several countries under the baton of Riccardo Chailly, Herbert Blomstedt, Andris Nelsons and Mariss Jansons. The Dutch newspaper NRC Handelsblad once heralded Bronfman’s playing in a joint performance with the Concertgebouw Orchestra as ‘unbelievably vibrant and virtuosic’.