With heroic power and Olympian vision, pianist Dubravka Tomsic opened the Pasadena Symphony concert Saturday at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium with a majestic account of Brahms' D-minor Concerto.
A student of Artur Rubinstein, who died in 1982 at 95, the Slovenian pianist was reintroduced to American audiences four years ago, after a nearly 30-year hiatus. Lucky for us. Like Rubinstein, Tomsic has utter command of the keyboard. She sees music in wholes, not parts. She is Apollo, not Dionysus.
On this occasion, she didn't indulge in finicky details of nuance and color, nor offer an idiosyncratic personal vision or empty rhetoric. She relied on the vaulting architectural strength of the music, playing with phenomenal strength and clarity, whether in the melting series of ascending trills that closed the second movement or the perilous galloping Gypsy rhythms that opened the third.
Conductor Jorge Mester made sure that she and orchestra were knitted together in a dynamic, seamless whole. It was one of their finest hours.