Preliminary Rounds (Phase Two)
Day 4 Recital Two (3 pm)
Monday 27 May 2013
The sad truth is I am fast running out of adjectives and superlatives, and while the pianists are coming fast and furious, my blogging is getting bogged down because of the shortage of time. This is especially when much time is used up as I sample the different restaurants in the vicinity of Fort Worth (a separate post will cover these), make new friends, sharing common interests and experiences, having post-concert discussions, gossip-mongering and the like. So I shall be briefer in my rantings and ravings (mostly), and cut to the chase.
CLAIRE HUANGCI (USA) returns with a stronger and less diffuse programme, beginning with Schubert’s Drei Klavierstucke (D.946), which constitute a three-movement sonata on its own. She combines a restlessly febrile passion and arch-lyricism with a playful sense of purpose. She also appears less nervous and takes her bows with more composure. Her final gambit is Mikhail Pletnev’s transcription of Tchaikovsky’s Sleeping Beauty in nine scenes, which is wonderfully characterised, full of orchestral colour and fantastic imagery. She has upped her game considerably, and I wish her the best. Standometer: ***
My view: A wonderful pianist and musician. The only pity is she drew the dreaded No.1 spot, which makes the memories of her performances dissipate after 29 more people have performed.
SCIPIONE SANGIOVANNI (Italy) had been a mild disappointment for me earlier, but he has also stepped up. I have never heard Beethoven’s Sonata in C major (Op.2 No.3) performed with such great vehemence and intensity. The young Beethoven was a smasher of keyboards, and he attempted to do the same with the Hamburg Steinway. His performance was is brawny, brusque but never boring. A different sensibility emerged for Cesar Franck’s Prelude, Chorale and Fugue, where he brought out organ-like sonorities, and the chorale melody on the left hand came through very nicely. Standometer: **
My view: Has made much progress, but may not be enough to advance.
My view of BEATRICE RANA (Italy) remains the same. She is the one of the outstanding talents of this competition and the best woman pianist by some distance. She is tiny in physical stature, but where does she find those seemingly endless physical reserves to bolster her intensely raging inner artistry? Her second recital further enhances her stake, including a lovely Schumann Abegg Variations (brilliant with no mincing of notes), yet another miraculous Ravel Gaspard de la nuit (a luxuriant wash of sound and the most trenchant of Scarbos), before closing with Bartok’s Out of Doors (rawness and raucousness for some contrast). Just simply amazing. Standometer: ***
My view: Already a finalist in the making.