Reviews of the Fifteenth Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, Semifinal Recital Round, session 6 (2:30 p.m. Sunday, June 4). You can see bios and complete repertoire of all pianists here.
For quick links to all our Cliburn reviews, click here.
BACH-BUSONI Chaconne in D Minor, BWV 1004
SCRIABIN Fantasie in B Minor, op. 28
JANÁČEK Piano Sonata 1 .X. 1905 (“From the Street”)
SCHUBERT Fantasie in C Major, D. 760, op. 15 (“Der Wanderer”)
Han Chen’s program reads more like a collection of his favorite pieces than a carefully planned competition program: We heard Busoni’s overloaded version of Bach’s Chaconne, Scriabin’s Op.28 Fantasie, Janáček’s first sonata and another Fantasie (Schubert’s Op. 15)
There is absolutely no doubt that Chen possesses fearsome technical abilities. He probably can play anything finger-wise. What he lacks is a sense of architecture and an organized plan for the dynamics. He certainly played all the notes in a jaw-dropping manner, even though he overpowered a lot of the actual music.
Once he learns how to pace his efforts for the long haul, He will have a successful concert career.
Hong Kong, 25
SCHUMANN Kreisleriana, op. 16
PROKOFIEV Sonata No. 6 in A Major, op. 82
Rachel Cheung was in fine form for her last recital. The Schumann is a collection of eight short, related pieces. The composer wrote several of these and they are recital favorites. The work is based on Kreisler, a crazy but canny conductor and a character from the works of E.T.A. Hoffman. Cheung not only layered the notes, she also played the character of each movement. Even if the listener was not familiar with Kreisler, it was easy to catch the state of the fictional character’s manic mind in Cheung’s performance.
The Prokofiev sonata received a near-perfect performance. She brought out the ambiguity of the key right from the start with both A-major and A-minor battling for dominance. She didn’t downplay the composer’s use of dissonance in this basically tonal work. She created an overall feeling of rootlessness and misery. She raised the mood in the second movement with a happier march and a waltz in the third movement. The virtuosic final movement brought the audience to its feet.
CLIBURN COMPETITION SCHEDULE
See links to all of our reviews that have posted here.
See the schedule of semifinal performances here.
- Thursday, June 1: 7:30 p.m. (recital)
- Friday, June 2: 2:30 (recital) and 7:30 p.m. (recital)
- Saturday, June 3: 2:30 (recital) and 7:30 p.m. (concerto)
- Sunday, June 4: 2:30 (recital) and 7:30 p.m. (concerto)
- Monday, June 5: 2:30 (recital) and 7:30 p.m. (concerto)
- Wednesday, June 7: 7:30 p.m.
- Thursday, June 8: 7:30 p.m.
- Friday, June 9: 7:30 p.m.
- Saturday, June 10: 3 p.m.
- Saturday, June 10: 7 p.m.