The overwhelming impression I took away from his performance of Brahms' Piano Quintet can be boiled down to two words: Too loud. That's definitely what he was in the portions of the piece in which the piano was the main player, and his contributions were anonymous in the parts where the piano was a collaborator. At no point did he sound like a natural Brahms interpreter.
However, this might not be his fault. The Cliburn only makes four pieces available in the chamber music round, and Dank had to pick one. The Brahms may well have been the one that was the least bad fit for him. This plays into what I think the fundamental problem is with the chamber music portion of the competition. I'll have more on that in a later post.
As with the 2001 and 2005 competitions, the Takacs String Quartet played alongside the piano. with new violist Geraldine Walther. (Steve Cumming erroneously said she was the second violinist.) They were capable in their roles, but they couldn't rescue Ran Dank, nor was it their job to do that. They've done more than enough in the past to deserve the benefit of the doubt. Let's see how well they do with a pianist who's more suited to the work at hand.