Thursday, 28 May 2009

Van Cliburn International Piano Competition 2009: Semifinals beckon

The semifinals recitals of the Cliburn promise a wealth of piano repertoire, thankfully with minimal duplication of works. There will be two performances of Liszt’s Sonata in B minor, by Michail Lifits and Mariangela Vacatello, and that’s about it. The performance that screams out for attention will be blind guy Nobuyuki Tsujii’s performance (left) of Beethoven’s Hammerklavier Sonata (Op.106) – it will either be a revelation that nets him a place in the finals or total mayhem. I can’t imagine anything in between, given the hoops he has to jump through, not to mention that fugue.

Here are the major works to be heard:

BACH Partita No.4
BEETHOVEN Sonatas Op.31 No.3, Op.53 Waldstein, Op.101, Op.106
CHOPIN Preludes Op.28 (no Sonatas this time!)
LISZT Sonata (x2), Spanish Rhapsody
MUSSORGSKY Pictures at an Exhibition
PROKOFIEV Sonatas No.7 & 8
RACHMANINOV Moments Musicaux Op.16 (no Sonatas)
SCHUMANN Davidsbundlertänze
SCHUBERT Sonatas D.850 & 960
SCRIABIN Sonatas No.3 & 5

The most intriguing recital programmes come from the women, especially Andrea Lam and Di Wu, and Yeol Eum Son to a lesser estent. With their unusual repertoire, it looks like they are not playing to the jury, but rather for themselves and music. Brava! Or should I say Bravi!

Lam’s recital includes:
HAYDN Sonata No.50 in C major
BRAHMS Klavierstücke Op.118 (I can imagine her playing No.3 with a cheeky smile)
GINASTERA Suite de Danzas Criollas

Di Wu’s recital:
CLARA SCHUMANN Mazurka, from Soirée Musicales Op.6
ROBERT SCHUMANN Davidsbundlertänze Op.6 (with Op.6 from both husband and wife, what symmetry!)
MEDTNER Skazki Op.20
MOSZKOWSKI Caprice Espagnol

Son’s recital:
DEBUSSY 6 Préludes from Book 1
GODOWSKY Symphonic Metamorphosis on Die Fledermaus

Let’s hope at least one of them passes to the final, if not all three!

The scorecard of semifinals quintets reads:
The maverick playing the Franck is Evgeni Bozhanov.

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