Friday, May 29, 2009

Kim Kyu-yeon (semifinal recital)

I was a bit puzzled when this Korean pianist made the semifinals, and I have to say, her solo recital didn't enlighten me much. She played a hazy and indistinct rendition of Beethoven's Op. 101 sonata. Late Beethoven often comes off as hazy and indistinct in the wrong hands. Then she played Hagen's Suite for Piano, giving a solid performance that wasn't as beautiful as Vacatello's yesterday.

She ended with Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition, and showed off her ability to produce a great welter of lovely, burnished sound, especially in "The Great Gate of Kiev" at the very end. Yet she frequently took pregnant pauses in the lyrical parts that made "Il Vecchio Castello" and "The Catacombs" a chore to sit through, and she didn't have anything like the wildness needed for "Baba Yaga" (a piece about an old witch who eats children, for heaven's sake). If Kim has any interesting musical edges, I haven't seen them yet.

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