Russian-born pianist Vassily Primakov said playing Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s music is challenging, especially considering the type of piano the composer used.
Primakov said Mozart’s piano would have weighed between 100 and 150 pounds when Mozart composed his Concerto for Piano No. 27 in B-flat Major.
The Steinway piano Primakov played Sunday afternoon at The Maryland Theatre weighed about 900 pounds.
Primakov said the weight difference between the two pianos means Primakov has to impose a lot of control over his instrument to get Mozart’s sound.
“The levels are so different,” Primakov told an audience before he joined the Maryland Symphony Orchestra in a tribute to Mozart.
Dozens of MSO fans turned out at The Maryland Theatre Sunday at 3 p.m. to hear Primakov’s delivery of Mozart’s music.
A pair of concerts Saturday and Sunday marked Primakov’s second appearance with the MSO. In October 2004, he was in town to play Sergei Rachmaninoff’s Second Piano Concerto.
Since then, Primakov has “received accolades upon accolades” for his playing, said MSO Music Director Elizabeth Schulze.
The concerts Saturday and Sunday also included Frank Martin’s Ouverture en hommage à Mozart, Robert Schumann’s “Carnaval,” Op. 9, and Symphony No. 4 in D minor.
Schulze said Mozart’s concerto that was performed over the weekend marked a tough time in Mozart’s life. he was looking for a place to perform the concerto and someone to commission it, and the work came about eight months before he died, Schulze said.
“This was a very low point financially for Mozart, and personally, too,” said Schulze, who added that the concerto has a very introspective feel.
Among the guests at Saturday afternoon’s concert were 33 band students from Washington Middle School in Cumberland, Md.
Tom Harrison, band director at the school, said he wanted his students to attend the concert to hear “what real instruments sound like.”
Harrison said it is one thing to hear a professional symphony in a recording, but it is another to experience it live.
“Some of them have never been to anything like this,” Harrison said of his students, who have been in band for three to five years.
Harrison, who said Sunday was the first time he has brought students to see the MSO, said the group traveled to Hagerstown on a bus.