Hilbert Circle Theatre; May 20
For his 15th annual Russian Festival, Arkady Orlovsky once again returned with his pickup “Tchaikovsky Festival Orchestra” to the Circle after his inaugural one there and the following 13 held at Clowes Hall (this time money was cited as the reason). Orlovsky’s wife, pianist Tamara Orlovsky, was again featured, this time in Rachmaninoff’s estimable Piano Concerto No. 3 in D Minor, Op. 30 — Rach 3, as we now affectionately call it. Orlovsky began with Rimsky-Korsakov’s short work, “Dubinushka,” Op. 62, an orchestration of a Russian song. Next came Rimsky’s suite from his final opera, Le Coq d’or (The Golden Cockerel), a work that sees too few performances. That fact, however, did not justify Orlovsky’s discussing and playing thematic excerpts from the four sections before playing the whole thing. It was awkwardly done and took too long. That said, the performance went well, considering the short available rehearsal time. The trumpets began the suite perfectly only to play consistently sour in the final section. As for Rach 3, Tamara’s playing was brilliant to excess, mixing beautifully pearly textures and expressive musicality with sloppy execution and runaway tempos. If she could simply temper her brilliance at key points, Tamara might give us world-class virtuosity.