Concert Review: Young Artist Series #3
by Hyae-jin Hwang
On Sunday afternoon at the Reginna Auditorium in Maiori, the audience was treated to the third concert in the Young Artist Series. Bit Nal Choi opened the recital with an energetic performance of Chopin’s Fantasia in F minor, Op. 49, full of color and character. She maintained an unerring sense of direction and clarity throughout, phrasing beautifully in this long and difficult work. An expressive pianist with a warm and inviting sound, she conveyed the poetry of Chopin’s masterwork. Haeun Jung then performed Beethoven’s Sonata Op. 13, the “Pathetique,” and Chopin’s Etude Op. 10, No. 12, the “Revolutionary.” Both written in the key of C minor, the pieces share the stormy sense of drama so typical of that dark tonality. Ms. Jung threw herself into this repertoire with abandon, making a highly convincing artistic statement. The program took a different turn with the appearance of Halvorson’s Passacaglia based on Handel for strings. The audience was provided a highly appealing performance by two students from the Hotchkiss School, Lillian Lee on violin, and Neils Larson on cello. With each succeeding variation, the character changed in the most unexpected and colorful ways. The performers obviously enjoyed playing together as a duo, sharing a lively communication between the two instruments. Shin-Young Park performed Beethoven’s gloriously beautiful Sonata in E major, Op. 109. She brought to life the dramatic tensions in the piece by vividly characterizing the contrasting thematic material, at times touching and sensitive, and at other times confident and dramatic. She is a pianist of great drive and energy, a quality most essential for effective Beethoven playing. It was an insightful and thoughtful performance. Jing-er Xu rounded out the program with Debussy’s Etude Pour les arpèges composés as well as Prokofiev’s Sonata No. 4, Op. 29. Full of physicality, color and character, the Debussy came vividly to life. In addition to frequent arpeggios, the etude also seems a study of delicate pedal effects, which were performed with imagination. With the arrival of Prokofiev’s Sonata No. 4, the program took on a dark and haunting character as the drama unfolded. Throughout, Ms. Xu was able to manage the many contrapuntal voices that permeate the texture. It was a most satisfying and inspiring concert.