Thursday, May 28, 2009

Andrea Lam (semifinal recital)

I met her briefly this afternoon in the press room. She knew about our name being the same. Apparently she has an uncle who uses the name Lin. She seemed pretty nice.

She started with the same Haydn sonata that Vacatello played earlier and gave a performance every bit as good. For the first time, I felt like I got the musical jokes that Haydn typically embedded in his compositions. (I mean his piano stuff; I get the jokes in his symphonies.)

Then she played Brahms' Klavierstucke Op. 118. (The title simply means "piano pieces.") I must confess I have a soft spot for these compositions that Brahms wrote late in his life. Lam brought out all the warmth in these pieces, taking No. 2 (a personal favorite of mine) a little slower than I'd like, but playing No. 3 with truculence and bite. I forgot about the competition when she played these. The beauty of her playing made time seem to stop.

Then she played Stravinsky's Four Etudes Op. 7, effective showpieces from off the beaten path that started out like a cousin to Rachmaninov but ended as music that was recognizably by the same guy who wrote Petrouchka. Then she played White Lies for Lomax, and not unforeseeably did better with the American idiom than Bozhanov did. It still sounds like Gershwin more than it does like Muddy Waters, but it was fun to listen to all the same.

She ended with Ginastera's Suite de Danzas Criollas ("Suite of Creole Dances") and played them with tremendous rhythmic verve and beauty. Just a tremendous performance overall, and proof that her first-round performance was no fluke.

No comments:

Post a Comment