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Yefim Bronfman is not a flashy pianist but he retains an under-appreciated ability to surprise. He once stupefied New York City commuters by playing a recital in the middle of Grand Central Station at the peak of the morning rush hour.
Stunts of that nature have the shock of incongruity built right into them, but Bronfman can also deliver the unexpected within the frame of the conventional. The Boston Symphony Orchestra performing Beethoven’s “Emperor” Concerto is not exactly the stuff of breaking news, but on Thursday night in Symphony Hall, Bronfman attacked the work with an alertness and sparkling musicality. If this iconic work can often draw routine performances, Bronfman, it seemed, never got the memo.