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2019 OLGA KERN INTERNATIONAL PIANO COMPETITION

Olga Kern

OKIPC: Preliminaries

Gregory Sullivan Isaacs is in Albuquerque covering the second Olga Kern International Piano Competition. Here are thoughts on the preliminary round.



published Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Photo: Chris Lee
Olga Kern

 

Albuquerque, N.M. — The second Olga Kern International Piano Competition is happening at the National Hispanic Cultural Center in Albuquerque, New Mexico. As we did for the inaugural event 2016, TheaterJones is covering it. The main reason is that Olga Kern, who was the co-Gold Medalist at the 2001 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, is quite the North Texas star. She's had the biggest career of any Cliburn finalist of the past 25 years, at least, and plays Fort Worth frequently, as in her recent concert at the Kimbell Art Museum. Another reason is that we're one of the few media outlets still covering an entire piano competition. Because the arts matter.

Let's start with reviews of the 24 pianists in the preliminary round, held Monday and Tuesday, Oct. 28 and 29, in the order of performance. This file will be updated as more reviews come in.

Programming note: The sonatas on the repertoire lists are by Domenico Scarlatti rather than by his father Alessandro, who was composing in the Baroque era. Domenico was writing in the transitional era as musical style was leaving the strictures of the Baroque for the much freer classicism that was developed by “Papa” Haydn and would culminate with Mozart. Thus, playing one of Domenico’s 555 piano sonatas requires that the pianist have one interpretational foot in both musical styles.

 

Nejc Kamplet, Slovenia

[ Review to come ]

 

Photo: Courtesy
Simon Karakulidi

Simon Karakulidi, Russia

Scarlatti

Sonata in B minor, K. 27/L. 449

Sonata in D Major, K. 96/L. 465

Neither sonata felt like a comfortable fit for the pianist. While the B minor sonata is marked Allegro, it moves on two levels, one being the fast note that bubbles under thematic materials that move more slowly. This distinction wasn’t all that clear in Karakulidi’s rendition. In the D major sonata, he didn’t quite capture the jolly mood of the fanfare like passages that are the hallmark of this popular sonata. Both works were over-romanticized and over-pedaled.

 

Mozart

Sonata No. 14 in C minor, K. 451

This sonata was played accurately but not stylistically correct. As with the Scarlatti, all of the movements in this sonata were over-romanticized and over-pedaled.

 

Rachmaninoff

Prelude in D Major, Op. 23, No. 4

This piece fared much better than the earlier Scarlatti and Mozart. It is much better suited to Karakulidi at this point in his career. He lovingly played the melancholic theme while keeping all of the counter melodies underneath but still important. He also demonstrated an excellent feel for the rolled chords that create the beautiful harmonic resolutions that are characteristic of this piece.

 

Prokofiev

Étude in C minor, Op. 2, No. 3

His performance of this étude got off to a good start with the serious octave based first section, but he ran into trouble when the murderously difficult fast runs up and down the keyboard in complex harmonic patterns. While the first section needs the pedal to make it work, this spritely but canted section needs more clarity and less pedal than his performance delivered.

 

Liszt

Transcendental Étude in D minor, No. 4, “Mazeppa,” S. 139

While he certainly has the technical ability to play this finger-buster, musically he hasn’t worked out all of the architecture so that all of the separate and wildly contrasting sections would fit together better to unify this piece of bombast. His playing of the chromatic double-octave runs was technically astute but felt even more added in for effect than usual. Better control of the pace of the work would have left him more ammunition for the huge ending.

 

Photo: Courtesy
Elizaveta Kliuchereva, Russia

Elizaveta Kliuchereva, Russia

Bach

Prelude and Fugue from The Well-Tempered Clavier, Book II, No. 1 in C Major, BWV 870

Right from the start, she demonstrated a keen understanding of Bach’s style and Baroque performance practices. The fugue was especially impressive as she kept it staccato all the way. Occasionally the principal voice got lost in the fray but overall, she was impressive in her opening selection.

 

Scriabin

Étude in C-sharp minor, Op. 42, No. 5

There is a lot that is always going on in this complex étude. While it is technically challenging, to say the least, it also requires great strength and endurance. All of this was present in her performance, but she frequently let all of the filigree take over and distract from what was important. Some over-pedaling contributed to this situation. However, she turned in an exciting reading although she occasionally overplayed the piano, but that almost always happens in this piece.

 

Chopin

Étude in G-sharp minor, Op. 25, No. 6

This is the grueling so-called étude in thirds because it requires some very fast runs up and down the keyboard — in thirds. She played this with great accuracy and without strain, which allowed her impressive execution of the passages in thirds to not appear to require so much work. Of course, it did. However, she conveyed confidence that allowed her to concentrate more on the music than the notes.

 

Mozart

Sonata No. 18 in D Major, K. 57

I. Allegro

Even though Mozart told a friend that he was writing some easy sonatas, this one is considered to be one of the most difficult in his entire output. Her performance belied that, however. As in the Chopin, her mastery of the notes allowed her to make music unfettered by worry over the technical demands. The contrast between the fanfare motive and the second part was complete but somehow fit together to make a whole.

II. Adagio

In this movement, her use of finger legato and independence of the hands combined to deliver a stunning performance of music, finding it eloquence in its simplicity. Just lovely.

III. Allegretto

She achieved the lighthearted nature of this piece by her careful attention to all of the details down to the smallest. The marked articulation was precisely realized, and her musicianship was more on display here than what came before.

 

Rachmaninoff

Polka de W.R.

What competition recital is complete without some Rachmaninoff? This selection is not the among the usual ones that appear. It was eagerly anticipated, and she did not disappoint. Virtuoso arrangements of existing works are common not many polkas which why this piece of technical brilliance is so delightful among all of the flash and show and she gave it a delightful performance. I loved the wat she played the oom-pahs.

 

Quilin Sun, China

Scarlatti

Sonata in b minor, K. 87/L.33

Sonata in D major, K. 29/L. 461

She opened with two Scarlatti sonatas. The first was this one in B minor. She started at a good tempo but gave it an overly romantic-styled interpretation with lots of nuance and use of the sustaining pedal. The second sonata she played, in D major, is a different story altogether. It begins with fast-running passages, with some surprisingly modern dissonances. Her playing was clean in a sharp staccato fashion. However, the tempo in the contrasting sections didn’t work as well.

 

Beethoven

Sonata No. 4 in E-flat Major, Op. 7

I. Allegro molto e con brio

She started off the first movement with a tempo that was Allegro but not very con brio (with vivacity). She also minimized Beethoven’s many musical surprises that he loved to sprinkle through his scores.

 

II. Largo con gran espressione (very slow with lots of expression)

The second slow movement was better but not very consistent. For example, in passages that feature a staccato pattern in the left hand, some were blurred with the pedal while others were not. Still, it was a deeply felt performance of one of the composer’s most moving pieces written in his early point.

 

III. Allegro

IV. Rondo: Poco allegretto e grazioso

She lightened the mood considerably for the last two movements, which was needed after the pathos of the slow movement. There are many musical contrasts to be found here but her readings were too divergent to stay in their proper relationships. It would help her performance if she would learn to breathe with the phrases, something that many pianists fail to do. It helps to identify where the phrases start and stop, especially if they continue immediately.

 

Rachmaninoff

Prelude in G sharp minor Op. 32 No. 12

She started this atmospheric prelude at a proper tempo and kept the right-hand passages working steadily. She also gave a steady build to the crescendi, with a restrained release. Her playing of the ending, in which the music seems to evaporate, was excellent.

 

Scriabin

Étude Op. 8, No.10 in D-flat Major

Étude No. 9 in G sharp minor

These two études are completely different and she played them in the correct order so as to end with a bang — but both are incredibly difficult. No. 10 is called the étude in thirds because of staccato running chromatic thirds in the left hand, a real challenge to any pianist. However, No. 9 is a virtuosic showpiece that sounds more like the showy Liszt than the mysterious Scriabin. It tasks both technique and endurance. It is a chancy piece to program at the end of a recital because you have to be in top form to attempt it. Even though she made a good effort she was too tired to make it work.

 

Kirill Prokopov, Russia

[ Review to come ]

 

Federico Gad Crema, Italy

Bach

Prelude and Fugue from the Well-Tempered Clavier, Book II, No. 2 in c minor, BWV 871

Crema sat down and immediately launched into a crisp but expressive reading of the prelude. His version was full of nuance without romanticizing. The fugue was even better. He is one of the few pianists who layered the voices so that we always heard what Bach intended.

 

Beethoven

Sonata No. 7 in D Major, Op. 10, No. 3

He delivered a wonderful performance, full of original touches and enhanced by his outstanding musicality. Here are just a few of the things I noticed.

I. Presto

Excellent opening enhanced by just a slight hesitation before the last note of the opening statement. As this motive expanded, so did this hesitation until it became a full-blown ritard. When this same passage came along in the minor, this was gone. There were plenty of other examples of how his ever-so-slight changes changed passages when repeated. He barely touched the sustaining pedal except when he had an effect he wanted to create. Tempo was spot on.

II. Largo e mesto

A solemn chord opened this serious movement. What was exceptional was that he held it without the use of the pedal allowing the right hand to remain separate. The most exceptional effect that he delivered was the creative use of the sostenuto pedal to hold notes while allowing the inner voices to move separately. This effect is so rarely heard that is really stands out when used. The end of the movement was mesmerizing with some incredibly soft notes.

III. Menuetto: Allegro

This movement was on the slow side but still effective.

IV: Rondo: Allegro

He used the frequent statements of the three-note introductory pattern almost as a tease all the way through the movement.

 

Chopin

Étude in B minor, Op. 25, No. 10

He started out quietly and slightly under tempo, which allowed the movement to emerge rather than start. The excellent balance between his hands gave well known passages a noticeably different sound. The last note was barely audible.

 

Scriabin

Étude in C-sharp minor, Op. 42, No. 5

He took a serious and expansive approach to this turbulent étude. This allowed his to build his explosive interpretation from the start. He produced an amazing amount of sound from of the instrument without overplaying. However, we were unprepared for it to end. A small quibble indeed, especially in light of his otherwise excellent and engaging performance

 

Rachmaninoff

Prelude in g-sharp minor, Op. 32, No. 12

There is not much that can be done to mitigate the overblown Lisztian opening, but his insightful transition to less stormy shoals gave us a welcome break before its inevitable return.

 

Jeanne Amièle, Canada

[ Review to come ]

 

Cristian Sandrin, Romania

Bach

Prelude and Fugue from The Well-Tempered Clavier, Book I, No. 12 in F minor, BWV 857

Sandrin began with a highly romanticized reading of Bach’s placid prelude. He let Bach’s chromatic fugal subject wind and unwind in a sinuous manner. He withheld the resolution of the final note in such a manner as to give, at least momentarily, a modern jazz influenced harmony.

 

Chopin

Étude in B minor, Op. 25, No. 10

A war horse that we have already ridden numerus times today and will surely hear again. He gave it an aggressive outing using the pedal somewhat more judiciously that some others but didn’t hesitate to give it a soaking when needed.

 

Debussy

Étude 11 pour les arpèges composés, L. 136

He presented Debussy’s gauzy entry into the ranks of showpieces in the tradition of the big Chopin études. It reminded us of the incredible impact Debussy had on the course of music history.

 

Mozart

Sonata No. 1 in C Major, K. 279

I. Allegro

He gave a delightful reading of the humorous opening movement of this sonata. Finally, here is a pianist that understands the cunning composer’s jests and his enjoyment of them relays them to the audience. The signature pickups that permeate the movement were also played with a smile. It was easy to imagine Mozart himself tossing a wink to someone in the audience as he played them.

II. Andante

This movement is remarkable for its simplicity and that is exactly how he played it.

III. Allegro

Things really perked up when he launched into this final movement. It was a little fast and he tended to rush here and there. Another excellent element of this performance was his careful attention to the balance between the hands. We actually heard some hidden compositional tricks that are usually buried in the mixture.

 

Rachmaninoff

Prelude in G-Major, Op. 32, No. 5

Choosing this Debussy-influenced prelude to end a competition program is an act of faith. But not in what you may think. No, it is in the quality and wisdom of the judges to be seeking out to reward exceptional musicians that just happen to be pianists and are not swayed by a flashy finish.

 

Willem de Beer, South Africa

[ Review to come ]

 

Sergey Belyavsky, Russia

Bach

Prelude and Fugue from The Well-Tempered Clavier, Book I, No. 20 in a minor, BWV 865ee

This is one of the series that boasts a fast prelude and more deliberate fugue. Without a hint of pedal, he flashed through it in a most engaging manner. He played the fugue with a steadiness that pointed up Bach’s noble intentions. It was a unique interpretation that managed to modernized Bach without stepping ahead of current research.

 

Beethoven

Sonata No. 12 in A-flat Major, Op. 26

I. Andante con variazioni

Belyavsky’s reading of the first movement of this sonata created a time machine that allowed us to hear Beethoven improvising at some social gathering.

II. Scherzo, allegro molto

His tempo was certainly brisk, but he made it work by way of his technical precision. Because of the excellent balance between his hands, we clearly heard Beethoven’s melodic fragments as they came into focus and then receded.

III. Maestoso andante, marcia funebre sulla morte d'un Eroe (Funeral March on the death of a hero)

Another slightly morbid favorite of Beethoven’s was the funeral march. They pop up throughout his catalog. Here, he moved along the tempo of this one, so it was more like a sonata movement than a solemn procession.

IV: Allegro

His tempo here was definitely on the quick side of fast. Although it works as just well a bit slower, his brisk tempo became like a spring breeze.

 

Chopin

Étude in B minor, Op. 25, No. 10

Any display of flying octaves impresses us, but this time we marveled at the accuracy of Belyavsky’s aim. It is like watching a knife throwing act.

 

Liszt

Transcendental Étude in D-flat Major, No. 11, “Harmonies du Soir,” S. 139

Translated, the title means the harmonies of the evening. Belyavsky’s less ferocious approach fits in better with Liszt’s crepuscular concept. But you rarely hear it that way.

 

Kreisler/Rachmaninoff

Liebesfreud

This was a terrific program closer for him. By backing off of the usual pedal drenching this piece usually receives, he makes this showpiece sparkle like a slightly canted crystal chandelier in a turn of the century ballroom.

 

Edwin Kim, United States

[ Review to come ]

 

Rui Mery Xu, China

[ Review to come ]

 

Connie Kim-Sheng, United States

Bach

Prelude and Fugue from The Well-Tempered Clavier, Book II, No. 1 in C Major, BWV 870

This is excellent Bach. In the fugue the was always present, brought out over the developmental voices. She didn’t use any pedal but used finger legato to offset the staccato passages throughout. She used nuanced and expressional dynamics, agnostic accents and slight variations in tempo. But this was not a romanticized version. It was marked by clarity and a deep understanding of the music. And there were a few clever touches as well.

 

Haydn

Piano Sonata No. 31 in A-flat Major, Hob. XVI: 46

I. Allegro moderato

II. Adagio

Beautifully placed. She played this movement at the movement at the appropriate slow tempo, but it never felt slow because of how she kept it moving. She gave a lesson in how to use the sustaining pedal. You were almost never aware of its employment but once you listened closely you could hear how she used it in such a subtle manner to add color and sustain harmonies. This was definately her unique interpretation, with all nuances carefully thought out but there was nothing out of the realm of accepted thought on how Haydn should be played.

III. Finale. Presto

Quick tempo, but like the Adagio, this Presto didn’t feel particulaly fast, even though it was. She made use of slight hairpins, as well as repeated phrases, changed by dynamics or phrasing. The overriding impression was one of bright and pristine pianism.

 

Rachmaninoff

Études-Tableaux in E-flat minor, Op. 39, No. 5

The opening felt serene, more like a memory of the music. She let it build by itself, never driving or pressing it forward. The soft section kept the intensity, just dropping the volume. One run down the keyboard felt like a sudden inspiration. Her entire performance had a haunted feel to it.

 

Rachmaninoff

Études-Tableaux in A minor, Op. 39, No. 6

In general, she took a relatively low-key approach. As opposed to No. 5, this one started with a feeling of anticipation tinged with dread, like something bad might, or might not, happen. The piece went through many moon changes and dynamic levels, with some glints of future success, but she always kept that opening feeling present at the big moment she brought out the theme in a forthright almost stentorian manner over all of the complexities playing else where. It was quite a thrilling moment. Her use of pedal was a good as before.

 

Rachmaninoff

Prelude in B-minor, Op. 32, No. 10

The opening chromatic run as a launch for th music that followed. Later on, she used echoes of that chromatic run to continue driging the music forward. She layered the dynamics in a brilliant fashion, sometimes with multiple levels concurrent. This approach revealed details in the score that are too often lost in the complexity.

 

Young Sun Choi, Korea

[ Review to come ]

 

John Wilson, United States

Bach

Prelude and Fugue from The Well-Tempered Clavier, Book II, No. 15 in G Major, BWV 884

He sat down and lauched into this molto perpetuo prelude in a fast and spritly manner, always keeping the staccato going, without much use of the pedal. The fugue was much the same, which makes this set an odd choise for a compitition since you want to display as many aspects of you playing as possible.

 

Haydn

Sonata in E-flat Major, Hob. XVI: 49

I. Allegro

Oddly enough, some of this movement has much in common with the fast and staccato texture of eatlier Bach. He brought out Haydn’s use of repeated rhytmic gestures that run thought the movment. But he could have had more fun with the three-note repeated pattern when it appears completely out of context. His performance demonstrated advanced musicianship in that every note and phrase had meaning and direction as well as well as doing its job in the overall architecture.

II. Adagio e cantabile

Here, he wisely used the pedal to help sustain his finger lagato driven phrases. This movement is simply conceived in that there is a vocal, lightly ordamenteed singing line that runs though it with only minimal accompianment. In the middle section, he made the complete change of texture not feel like a complete departure. When the first sction returned in a more heavily ordamentalized fashion you always felt like they were not added to show off technique.  

III. Finale: Tempo di minuet

He went right on with only a slight pause. He used the pedal to great effect throughout to add depth to some passages and to sustain others

 

Rachmaninoff

Études-Tableaux in c minor, Op. 39, No. 1      

In some ways, this étude is well suited to his ability to combine staccato and legato passages so that both are clear. Also, this shows how his musicianship and careful tailoring of each phrase fits them in place. He delivered a really big ending withutnoverplaying the instrument and the final release looked as if the keyboard suddenly becam too hot to touch.

 

Debussy

Étude 5 pour les octaves, L. 136

This performance sounded more like Rachmaninoff.

 

Rachmaninoff

Prelude in G-sharp minor, Op. 32, No. 12

Excellent independence of hands as far as dynamics go, which is critical in playing this work, because of how Rach distrubutes his fast movement marerials. What is of importance moves around constantly and thus can easily be lost in all of the underpinnings.

 

Rolando Valdes, Mexico

[ Review to come ]

 

HwaYoung An, South Korea

Bach

Prelude and Fugue from The Well-Tempered Clavier, Book II, No. 5 in D Major, BWV 874

She took her time getting ready but while it may seem fussy, these initial preparations before starting to play are similar to the airplane preflight inspections.

She used more pedal on the prelude than was necessary because she possesses a fine finger legato and passages became more blurred as her performance went on. She started the fugue in a relaxed manner that was a good contrast to the prelude. But once again her overuse of the pedal affected what was a clean performance underneath.

 

Chopin

Étude in F-Major, Op. 10, No. 8

She took time to readjust the bench before launching in an effect manner into this energetic étude that is a series of very fast running notes up and down the keyboard. She also brought out the other elements, which really are the meat of the piece, while keeping the running passage relaxed and expressive with dynamic details.

 

Liszt

Grandes études de Paganini, S. 141, No. 6, Quasi presto (A-minor)

This tune from Paganini’s violin caprice has attracted composers as a perfect subject for sets of variations ever since it was first written. Rachmaninoff’s use of it for the quasi-concerto, Variations of a Theme of Paganini. Liszt’s uses the theme as a structure on which he hangs all of his usual tricks, from fast finger-busting passages to his trademark use of octaves. An has the technical chops to surmount Liszt’s formidable difficulties included in his set of variations. There is always a lot going on in this showpiece and she was impressive, making the most of it.

 

Beethoven

I. Sonata No. 31 in A-flat Major, Op. 110

Moderato cantabile molto espressivo

After the note eruption that came before it, her low-key approach to the sonata was a welcome relief. While she has mostly correct musical ideas about this music, her overuse of the pedal robbed it of clarity. Beethoven is relying on what he learned from Haydn in this movement so that influence should dictate some interruptive ideas.

II. Allegro molto

The key to this movement, basically a scherzo, is Beethoven’s use of antiphonal dynamics, four loud bars then four soft ones, and she did a fine job of making this happen without over or underplaying either potion. Beethoven’s insertion of two humorous folk songs did not come through. However, she did a fine job of connecting up to the next movement (Beethoven helps by using the same gesture).

III. Adagio ma non troppo – Allegro ma non troppo

This adagio-to-allegro movement is full of contrasts, and she did a fine job of connecting this all up in such a manner that we didn’t think we were suddenly in another movement.

 

Kreisler/Rachmaninoff

Liebesleid

Kreisler had many short tuneful pieces for violin that were basically encores meant for his recital work. That makes them a target for elaboration by others. Rachmaninoff’s version of Kreisler’s plain-spoken song seems to have that same encore destination as the original. Her relaxed approach mades all of the frou-frou in this set of variations feel more delightful than show-offy.

 

Tetiana Shafran, Ukraine

Bach

Prelude and Fugue from The Well-Tempered Clavier, Book II, No. 22 in b-flat minor, BWV 891

She started off the prelude is a relaxed manner. However, it didn’t seem to go anywhere and had little in the way of nuance throughout. Things perked up considerably in the fugue.

 

Beethoven

Sonata in A Major, Op. 2, No. 2

I. Allegro vivace

She ripped into the sonata with more energy than she displayed in the Bach. She also managed to make Beethoven’s trademark surprise shifts of dynamics and textures while keeping it the scale of the movement. She gave the upward-bound scales a little sass.

II. Largo appassionato

Here, she displayed wise use of the pedal. She completely eliminated it when she needed to keep the notes in the left hand short, but not staccto, while the right hand sang the melodic materials.

III. Scherzo: Allegretto

This movement opens witha cute wiggly gesture that she played with charm each time it occured.

IV. Rondo: Grazioso

She went right on, and in doing so tied the movements together. But she didn’t bring the sonata to an end. It just stopped. On both of these pieces, she was always in the moment with no destination in particular in mind.

 

Chopin

Étude in F Major, Op. 10, No. 8

Right from the start, her right hand glided effortlessly up and down the keyboard playing all of these fast sweeps with accuracy and a dollop of jocularity.

 

Mendelssohn/Rachmaninoff

Scherzo from A Midsummer Night's Dream, Op. 61

She played this with too heavy a hand. It should hover above the ground even though Rachmaninoff’s arrangement is considerably more forthright than Mendelssohn’s orignal zypher of a piece.

 

­­­

Liszt

Grandes étude de Paganini, No. 3 in g-sharp minor, “La campanella” (The Bells), S. 141

This performance was a separated from the piece but once she got it going, she made it sparkle. Maybe this is a good time to comment on the magnificience of the Steinway piano. The top range was stunning in this piece. It made the compelling clear and true.

 

Daniel Tselyakov, Canada

Rachmaninoff

Morceaux de fantaisie, Op. 3

Elegie

Right from the start he created the proper mysterious mood. He played some amazingly quiet notes. However, his enthusiasm got away from him in the exciting loud moments and his aim fell short. However, you could forget about that when listening to the superb quiet playing that followed. As it turned out, this was the problem with his entire program — sure technical abilities, sound musical ideas with genuine originality but frequently marred by rushed tempi or playing much too loud. He has all the making of a great pianist if he can settle down.

 

Chopin

Étude in A-flat Major, Op. 25, No. 1

In this piece, his interpretation was excellent, and he always kept the singing melody a level about everything else.

 

Bach

Prelude and Fugue from The Well-Tempered Clavier, Book I, No. 15 in G Major, BWV 860

He spilled out a delightful performance of the prelude, full of joy and class. He kept the same jocularity in the fugue.

 

Beethoven

Sonata No. 21 in C Major, Op. 53, “Waldstein”

I. Allegro con brio

He started on the fast side, which made it sound rushed. But he brought out the melody that came from the top notes in the opening series of chords.

II. Introduzione. Adagio molto

III. Rondo. Allegretto moderato – Prestissimo

Tempi were too fast again.

 

Liszt

Transcendental Étude, No. 10 in F minor, S. 139

The opening was terrific as he let the music cascade down the keyboard and played with urgent surges and played a spectacular ending.

 

Baron Penwick, United States

[ Review to come ]

 

Narae Lee, South Korea

[ Review to come ]

 

Richard Octaviano Kogima, Brazil

[ Review to come ]

 

Hyuk Lee, South Korea

Bach

Prelude and Fugue from The Well-Tempered Clavier, Book I, No. 22 in b-flat minor, BWV 867

This slow and reflective prelude was correctly paced from the start. His contrasting use of dynamics brought it to life. This also served him well in the fugue, which starts off simply with a single descending interval but gets more complex as it continues.

 

Rachmaninoff

Prelude in G minor, Op. 23, No. 5

Here we are again with this ever-popular prelude. He played with without much pedal, so it sounded more staccato than it usually does. He wisely saved the pedal for special moments to let them stand out better. His transition from the more lyrical B section to the return wasn’t sudden, instead he built up steam as he progressed.

 

Chopin

Étude in F Major, Op. 10, No. 8

The tricky part is to keep the constant stream of arpeggio patterned runs not to take over and his he did with élan. He also had the stamina required to play this workout without the right hand tapping out early.

 

Liszt

Grandes études de Paganini, No. 6 in A minor, S. 141

This late in the competition, we are usually plagued with repeats and so it is with this popular étude. But he brought something new to it with cleverly paced dynamics and clarity created by keeping it staccato throughout with some connecting use of the pedal.

 

Beethoven

Sonata No. 23 in F minor, Op. 57, “Appassionata”

I. Allegro assai

We soon learned that his plan for this movement was to make the most of its many surprising contrasts. He prepared us for some by the way he made the approach, but he let others startle us good and proper. Exaggerated pauses were another trick he successfully employed to keep us guessing.

II. Andante con moto

He gave this movement a regal feel from the start. Even when it took off, he didn’t let it fall into mere technical displays.

III. Allegro ma non troppo – Presto 

The transition he made to this devilish movement was excellent. He didn’t play it faster that called for, remembering that it only gets faster later on.

 

Aaron Kurz, United States

[ Review to come ]

 

 

The semifinalists, announced Tuesday night, are below, listed in the order they play on Wednesday and Thursday.

Wednesday, October 30

11 a.m. - Simon Karakulidi
12:05 p.m. - Elizaveta Kliuchereva 
2:05 p.m. - Federico Gad Crema
3:15 p.m. - Cristian Sandrin
4:25 p.m. - Sergey Belyavskiy
 

Thursday, October 31

11 a.m. - Connie Kim-Sheng
12:05 p.m. - HwaYoung An
2:05 p.m. - Tetiana Shafran
3:15 p.m. - Baron Fenwick
4:25 p.m. - Richard Octaviano Kogima
 Thanks For Reading





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OKIPC: Preliminaries
Gregory Sullivan Isaacs is in Albuquerque covering the second Olga Kern International Piano Competition. Here are thoughts on the preliminary round.
by Gregory Sullivan Isaacs

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Bruce Wood Dance Harvest Ochre House Lake Cities Ballet The Cripple of Innishmaan Billie holiday at Sugar Hill Stage West Dallas Black Dance Theatre Espresso Nutcracker Melinda Massie Bruce Wood Dance Harvest Ochre House Lake Cities Ballet The Cripple of Innishmaan Billie holiday at Sugar Hill Stage West Dallas Black Dance Theatre Espresso Nutcracker Melinda Massie Bruce Wood Dance Harvest Ochre House Lake Cities Ballet The Cripple of Innishmaan Billie holiday at Sugar Hill Stage West Dallas Black Dance Theatre Espresso Nutcracker Melinda Massie Bruce Wood Dance Harvest Ochre House Lake Cities Ballet The Cripple of Innishmaan Billie holiday at Sugar Hill Stage West Dallas Black Dance Theatre Espresso Nutcracker Melinda Massie Bruce Wood Dance Harvest Ochre House Lake Cities Ballet The Cripple of Innishmaan Billie holiday at Sugar Hill Stage West Dallas Black Dance Theatre Espresso Nutcracker Melinda Massie Bruce Wood Dance Harvest Ochre House Lake Cities Ballet The Cripple of Innishmaan Billie holiday at Sugar Hill Stage West Dallas Black Dance Theatre Espresso Nutcracker Melinda Massie Bruce Wood Dance Harvest Ochre House Lake Cities Ballet The Cripple of Innishmaan Billie holiday at Sugar Hill Stage West Dallas Black Dance Theatre Espresso Nutcracker Melinda Massie Bruce Wood Dance Harvest Ochre House Lake Cities Ballet The Cripple of Innishmaan Billie holiday at Sugar Hill Stage West Dallas Black Dance Theatre Espresso Nutcracker Melinda Massie Bruce Wood Dance Harvest Ochre House Lake Cities Ballet The Cripple of Innishmaan Billie holiday at Sugar Hill Stage West Dallas Black Dance Theatre Espresso Nutcracker Melinda Massie Bruce Wood Dance Harvest Ochre House Lake Cities Ballet The Cripple of Innishmaan Billie holiday at Sugar Hill Stage West Dallas Black Dance Theatre Espresso Nutcracker Melinda Massie Bruce Wood Dance Harvest Ochre House Lake Cities Ballet The Cripple of Innishmaan Billie holiday at Sugar Hill Stage West Dallas Black Dance Theatre Espresso Nutcracker Melinda Massie Bruce Wood Dance Harvest Ochre House Lake Cities Ballet The Cripple of Innishmaan Billie holiday at Sugar Hill Stage West Dallas Black Dance Theatre Espresso Nutcracker Melinda Massie Bruce Wood Dance Harvest Ochre House Lake Cities Ballet The Cripple of Innishmaan Billie holiday at Sugar Hill Stage West Dallas Black Dance Theatre Espresso Nutcracker Melinda Massie Bruce Wood Dance Harvest Ochre House Lake Cities Ballet The Cripple of Innishmaan Billie holiday at Sugar Hill Stage West Dallas Black Dance Theatre Espresso Nutcracker Melinda Massie Bruce Wood Dance Harvest Ochre House Lake Cities Ballet The Cripple of Innishmaan Billie holiday at Sugar Hill Stage West Dallas Black Dance Theatre Espresso Nutcracker Melinda Massie Bruce Wood Dance Harvest Ochre House Lake Cities Ballet The Cripple of Innishmaan Billie holiday at Sugar Hill Stage West Dallas Black Dance Theatre Espresso Nutcracker Melinda Massie Bruce Wood Dance Harvest Ochre House Lake Cities Ballet The Cripple of Innishmaan Billie holiday at Sugar Hill Stage West Dallas Black Dance Theatre Espresso Nutcracker Melinda Massie Bruce Wood Dance Harvest Ochre House Lake Cities Ballet The Cripple of Innishmaan Billie holiday at Sugar Hill Stage West Dallas Black Dance Theatre Espresso Nutcracker Melinda Massie Bruce Wood Dance Harvest Ochre House Lake Cities Ballet The Cripple of Innishmaan Billie holiday at Sugar Hill Stage West Dallas Black Dance Theatre Espresso Nutcracker Melinda Massie Bruce Wood Dance Harvest Ochre House Lake Cities Ballet The Cripple of Innishmaan Billie holiday at Sugar Hill Stage West Dallas Black Dance Theatre Espresso Nutcracker Melinda Massie
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