What a delight, as Alexander Schimpf played Beethoven’s silences, the gaps between sound, and the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra established a balance to the evening air, a summer idyll. It was the luxury of a fine art at Chautauqua.
It doesn’t get much better, and the mid-sized audience knew just what was happening, as it fell into the silence and stilled as gatherings do when something really special is happening. Even the cicadas, I swear, quieted their background accompaniment for a few moments.
The Piano Concerto in B-flat Major was young Ludwig van Beethoven’s first performed piece under public auspice, in Vienna, when he was in his early 20s, and just his 19th work created. Many today — and even then — hear Mozart and Haydn in the young composer’s work, though Thursday in the Amphitheater, another young German pianist held his audience spellbound with a timing and delicacy that invited their participation.