Two ends of Romantic spectrum harmonize in ISO concert

By Jay Harvey | April 10, 2010

...Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 1 in C major (from 1798) was not originally scheduled to provide a harbinger of the twilight glories of Rachmaninoff's Symphony No. 2 in E minor (from 1908). But when ailing violinist Leila Josefowicz had to withdraw from the soloist roster, in stepped pianist Adam Golka, a 2009 Fellow of Indianapolis' own American Pianists Association, with the Beethoven work. It was a happy substitution, as it turned out, and not just for whatever it might have illustrated about romanticism ascendant versus romanticism in decline.
Golka proved himself a fast-developing artist with fresh ideas and purposeful individuality at the Hilbert Circle Theatre Friday night. 
And his meeting of minds with conductor Mark Wigglesworth became cumulatively evident. The exaggerated soft-loud contrast in the opening orchestral tutti (before the pianist plays a note) served notice that this concerto is one way the young composer from the provincial North intended to set cosmopolitan Vienna back on its heels.
Like most soloists in this work, Golka chose the longest of Beethoven's three cadenzas for the first movement: It was representative of his clear thinking. He used lots of pedal, but judiciously, to provide extra color and flair. 
Golka's spiky tone wouldn't be to all tastes in this music, but as the virtuoso demands in the finale mounted, he made it clear that facility and exquisite balance aren't the point...