Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Dispatch from Warsaw, October 20, 2021

A very mixed evening of very different approaches to the Chopin concerti.

Aimi Kobayashi played the first concerto with great dignity and majesty. Unfortunately, her tempo was a bit too stately, thereby robbing the music of its impetus at times. Overall, it was a performance of great polish, if a little lacking in emotion.

Polish pianist Jakus Kuszlik played the same concerto with poetry and a beautiful sound. Occasionally, his phrasing lapsed into dullness after episodes of great beauty. 

Hyuk Lee played the concerto in F minor with great beauty of sound. He is a poetic musician; I only wish that he would allow the music to breathe a bit more, so that the phrasing would not be quite as measured. 

A great ovation greeted Canadian Bruce Liu after he gave a pianistically brilliant performance of the concerto in E minor. 

As we wait for the decision of the jury, I have to confess that this has been one of the most musically intense and emotional week of my concert-going life. For me, the musician that moved me the most with the poetry and ardour of his playing, the maturity of his conception, and his collaborative approach in his concerto performance, has to be Kyohei Sorita. 

If I were backed against a wall, I would give the 1st prize to Sorita, 2nd to Leonora Armellini and 3rd to Bruce Liu. No doubt the distinguished jury would turn out to have a completely different view.

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