Friday, June 5, 2009

Evgeni Bozhanov (final recital)

The Bulgarian was a bit unfocused at the start. He ran through Takemitsu's Rain Tree Sketch I without making a compelling case for it, and the first few numbers of Schumann's Davidsbundlertanze were indistinct, too, lacking the rhythmic swing that Di Wu played it with in the prelims. (As I mentioned before, these are supposed to be dances.) However, somewhere in the midst of his velvety rendition of No. 5, he suddenly regained his sense of the occasion and played the rest of the piece with the proper eclat. He wound up delivering a larger-scaled version of the suite, still less rhythmic than Di Wu's but plenty compelling on its own.

He finished with another piece that Di Wu did earlier, Liszt's transcription of the waltz from Gounod's Faust, but he was better suited to it than she was. He dove into the thing headfirst and conjured up visions of the 19th-century opera house in all its finery. He meandered a bit in the middle, but his tone and outsize personality brought this showpiece home and made it sing.

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