“ … Kozhukhin largely played with such innate authority, leonine command and poised yet unsentimental lyricism that he didn’t seem to be “interpreting” the music at all. Rachmaninoff’s long-limbed melodies were rendered with a supple poetic touch and natural empathy as much as Kozhukhin’s clarity and eruptive dynamism vaulted through the passages of breakout virtuosity.
The performance culminated in an exhilarating finale that led up to the final bars with mounting inexorability–the movement’s big tune given with rich resplendence in its final flowering and the race to the coda thrillingly played by Kozhukhin, van Zweden and the orchestra with their soloist every step of the way.
This was one of the rare times when the instant cheers and standing ovation were well deserved. The applause recalled the pianist back to the stage until he obliged with an encore–“La fille aux cheveux de lin” (The girl with the flaxen hair) from Book I of Debussy’s Preludes, rendered with limpid delicacy”