Saturday, May 30, 2009

Ran Dank (semifinal recital)

The Israeli started off with Bach's Partita No. 4 in D major. I'm starting to think I'm no judge when it comes to Bach; I never get the feeling of mystical communion with the universe that you're supposed to get with this composer. Anyway, I found Dank's playing to be agreeable enough. He then drifted cluelessly through White Lies for Lomax. If you're keeping score, seven semifinalists are playing Lomax, while four are playing Hagen's Suite for Piano, and one is playing John Musto's Improvisation and Fugue. Nobody is playing Derek Bermel's Turning, probably because it's 17 minutes long, and who wants to give over that much of their recital to an unfamiliar work?

He then finished with Prokofiev's Sixth Piano Sonata, the first piece by Prokofiev we've heard in this competition. It only took us eight days. He made a big sound, and he was alive to the composer's grotesque sense of humor in the second movement. He lost his way in the lyrical third movement, and even in spots in the finale. He didn't have much eye for the drama in the piece, for the slow building of destructive momentum. The performance was all right for the most part, but the thing is, the piece needs to be shattering. Ran Dank needed to be shattering. He wasn't.

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