Filling in Due to Flu, Kenny Broberg Shines in Minnesota Orchestra Concerto Debut Terry Blain, Star Tribune
A week ago, pianist Kenny Broberg’s phone rang in Kansas City, Mo. It was the Minnesota Orchestra, asking could he possibly stand in for a flu-stricken André Watts at the coming weekend’s subscription concerts…
Friday evening’s performance of the “Emperor,” Broberg’s concerto debut at Orchestra Hall, showed exactly why the Cliburn judges rated him so highly.
One obvious feature of his playing was the bright, pearly tone quality. It animated the glimmering cascades of notes in the piano’s flamboyant opening gestures and put a bright smile on the many episodes of silvery trilling that Beethoven asks for in the concerto.
The slow movement had a clean, pellucid beauty, without a trace of sentimentality or false straining for profundity…
But this was nonetheless a highly auspicious debut, marked by poise, technical brilliance and a welcome lack of the narcissistic body language so many pianists see fit to indulge in.
Pianist Kenny Broberg will replace André Watts as the featured soloist in both Minnesota Orchestra concerts this weekend. Mr. Watts is ill with the flu and unfortunately unable to perform. Conducted by John Storgårds, the program will remain unchanged, featuring Beethoven’s Concerto No. 5, Emperor, and Shostakovich’s Tenth Symphony. The concerts are slated for 8 p.m. on Friday, February 23, and 8 p.m. Saturday, February 24, at Orchestra Hall.
Exquisite Economy: A Recital by Kenny Broberg
Dr. Gary Lemco, Peninsula Reviews
With a spellbound audience still in thrall, Kenny Broberg raised his hands away from the keyboard, Sunday afternoon, January 21 at Le Petit Trianon, having just executed a titanic rendition of the Liszt Sonata in B Minor that immediately garnered a paroxysm of praise. Mr. Broberg appeared under the auspices of the Steinway Society the Bay Area in music by Franck, Bach, Debussy, and Liszt, in which each selection demonstrated the structural economy of imaginative materials, deftly transfigured into brilliant keyboard vehicles.
Broberg opened with Harold Bauer’s 1910 transcription of Cesar Franck’s finely chiseled organ piece, Prelude, Fugue and Variation (1862), which Franck dedicated to another skilled organist, Camille Saint-Saens. The piece opens with a graceful simplicity in Franck’s favorite B Minor, with a tender, flowing melody not far from Bach’s Liebster Jesu, wir sind hier. The pattern that ensues involves askew five-bar phrases, each rounded out in the manner Schumann employs to achieve “classical” architecture. Before the three-voice Fugue section opens, it, too, has a brief prelude. The Variation part simply reintroduces the opening motif accompanied by fast-moving figures. Broberg made the work eminently clear, polished, and refined, his pedal a model of graduated dynamics.