From an article in the NY Times by Paul Griffiths, Dec. 20, 2002:
Emanuel Ax is of course a rare and marvelous artist, but there is also something companionable in his musicianship. As he showed at his excellent Carnegie Hall recital on Monday evening, he would rather engage with his listeners than stun them. His playing comes across as one side in a dialogue, and since the audience cannot answer back, he has to provide an alternative viewpoint, too.
One way he can do that is in showing his impatience with exceptional beauty even while he is projecting it. No, he seemed to be saying at the opening of Chopin's Andante Spianato and Grand Polonaise (Op. 22), loveliness is not enough. This was partly what his left hand was saying to his right, but it was also what his right hand was saying to itself: there has to be more, if not here then elsewhere. On with it. As the piece continued into its polonaise section, display became drama.
For the rest of the article: http://www.nytimes.com/2002/12/20/arts/music/20AX.html
- Frank B.