Classical Music Update: Back to Rach

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The Independent Culture
According to Steinway & Sons, Vladimir Ovchinikov will never play in public on an instrument more than 10 years old. But on Wednesday at the Barbican Centre he plays Rachmaninov's Piano Concerto No 2 on a Steinway almost certainly manufactured in the year of the composer's birth, 1873. All in the cause of period authenticity, and to balance the timbres and textures of the New Queen's Hall Orchestra, Britain's first orchestra in modern times to attempt to reproduce performances typical of those heard around the turn of the century. Steinway staff are thrilled at the condition - give or take a few modern hammers - in which the ornate red- brown rosewood piano has been preserved. 'The sound evokes another age,' purrs Simon Romanos of the concert and artists department. Only problem . . . someone has seen fit to replace its period legs with prosaically four-square substitutes. Offers, please, by 5pm Tuesday.