Review: A Conversation on Equal Terms – Südkurier (Germany, 16-10-2015)

“In Dialogue” – this is how the Southwest German Philharmonic billed the concert with which it began the new season’s subscription series in Constance’s Konzil. This title applies to Johannes Brahms’s Piano Concerto No. 2, a “heavyweight” precisely designed less as a virtuoso concerto than as a conversation on equal terms, here between the soloist (Stefan Vladar) and the orchestra. Stefan Vladar nevertheless made it clear that this was no reason for him to hide behind the orchestra in his soloist’s part. After the wonderful horn solo (Andrew Hale) with which Brahms right at the beginning offers his first surprise untypical of the concerto genre, Vladar set the first exclamation mark with his solo cadenza. Even elsewhere his playing was sumptuous, gripping, and forceful – but at the decisive moment it was also finely sensitive, sparkling, and above all perfectly coordinated with the orchestra.