Reviews of the Fifteenth Van Cliburn International Piano Competition will run for each of the six finalists in separate files. The first review will be the piano quintet round with the Brentano String Quartet, from Wednesday and Thursday; and the second review, of the concerto with the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Leonard Slatkin, will be added into each file.
To see bios and complete repertoire of all pianists here.
For quick links to all our Cliburn reviews, click here.
with Brentano String Quartet
Mark Steinberg, violin | Serena Canin, violin | Misha Amory, viola | Nina Lee, cello
FRANCK Piano Quintet in F Minor
This quintet is not on my desert island list, but it is full of passion and superb writing for the ensemble. This performance lacked some of that passion, but never lost intensity.
Favorin was an excellent collaborator right from the start. He never covered the string quartet or even fought them to a draw. In the second movement, there is a build to triple forte and all five players got to that dynamic about five measures early so it lost some of its impact.
These are minor points. This was an excellent performance; a little more subdued than I would expect, but there was nothing wrong about the path they took.
with Fort Worth Symphony
Leonard Slatkin, conductor
PROKOFIEV Piano Concerto No. 2 in G Minor, op. 16
This concerto is always listed among the most difficult in the repertoire because of the very long cadenza, around 10 minutes. It is the longest in the repertoire (unless there are some new ones that I don’t know about). It is also a challenge for the scherzo, which is very fast; the pianist plays 16th notes on both hands at the octave. It may only last under three minutes, but the notes must be completely even in tempo or the pianist could lose sync with the orchestra. The whole concerto is an endurance test.
Favorin met all these challenges with élan. He completely mastered Prokofiev’s wide range of styles in this work, from lyric to brutal, and imbued it with a good helping of Prokofiev’s sarcasm and sharp elbows. Favorin, with his fingers of steel, was never covered by the orchestra—which is a compliment to Favorin as well as conductor Leonard Slatkin.
This was a near perfect performance, and I only say "near" because perfection is an elusive goal.
Other reviews of Yury Favorin:
CLIBURN COMPETITION SCHEDULE
See links to all of our reviews that have posted here.
See the schedule of final performances here.
- 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.