He opened his program with Beethoven's "Waldstein" Sonata, which only roared fitfully to life during the louder passages in the second half. Other than that, it was pretty dull. I had higher hopes for his second recital item, Rachmaninov's Moments musicaux. The way he played the Siloti transcription in the first round made me think he'd be a natural Rachmaninov player. Oh, how wrong I was. The indifferent phrasing, muddy sound, and most of all the lack of emotion in these pieces were truly shocking. Sakamoto's version of this in the prelims was far superior to this. Kunz got here on the strength of his creative programming in the first round, but without that, he was exposed. He played White Lies for Lomax to wind up his program and couldn't get the rhythm down. Even though he added a few finger snaps to the end and acknowledged the audience by holding up the score for a round of applause (a nice gesture), it wasn't enough to rescue this performance.
As I was leaving the concert hall, an old woman walking beside me said in her imperfect English, "He just bang the piano." Um, yeah.