Jed Distler’s Cliburn Blog No 18: ‘It ain’t over till it’s over?’

Yesterday I likened Ilya Shmukler’s Grieg Concerto to a 5th wheel, surrounded and enveloped via Rachmaninov Concerto No 3 performances.

I additionally wrote how Clayton Stephenson’s Rach 3 had many admirable qualities that stuck my ear and held my consideration.

Yet the sheer fluidity, effortlessness, and absolute keep watch over in any respect speeds that Yunchan Lim delivered to his Rach 3 without a doubt ruled the night and galvanized the target market. Pianist colleagues clogged my social media feeds with texts and posts, all principally pronouncing ‘Gold Medal’ over and over.

It’s no longer truthful to claim an outright winner when the competition hasn’t but concluded. Or, to cite the mythical New York Yankee catcher Yogi Berra, ‘It ain’t over till it’s over’. However, Dmytro Choni’s mannered word taperings within the Beethoven Piano Concerto No 3’s first motion lopped off classical taste issues I tallied right through his Semi-Final spherical Mozart D Minor Concerto. He regained musical composure in time for a shapely and sustained sluggish motion. The Rondo featured deft interaction between soloist and orchestra, albeit no longer slightly on Yunchan Lim’s audacious scale a couple of nights previous.

Uladzislau Khandohi’s delivered his best Cliburn concerto efficiency in Chopin’s E Minor, particularly within the Rondo Finale, the place his fleet passagework rippled with polished symmetry and mixture of poise and elan. Naturally a Cliburn competitors can’t happen with out a minimum of one Final Round efficiency of Van Cliburn’s biggest hit, the Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No 1. Nothing in The Cliburn’s rule guide says that one should carry out the Tchaikovsky as Cliburn himself did, that means extra lyricism and balletic impulse than fireplace and brimstone.

Nevertheless, I couldn’t lend a hand however equate Anna Geniushene’s seasoned pianism to Cliburn at his best possible. Let’s simply take that ultimate octave peroration for example. Most formidable contestants take a look at to attract consideration to themselves, taking part in as furiously rapid as imaginable. Geniushene, in contrast, takes up the track from the place the orchestra leaves off, shaping the passage out of what got here earlier than and build up the climax in some way that assiduously leads into the coda, relatively than leaving the orchestra striking. I additionally spotted how Geniushene was once keen to accompany and make allowance the second one motion’s first-desk soloists their due.

Due to airport delays and similar commute hassles, I couldn’t catch the overall day’s court cases in actual time.  When I after all arrived at my Toronto resort to observe them on YouTube, the last rite had already come and long past. It took each and every ounce of self-discipline for me no longer to take a look at the record of winners till the Tchaikovsky Concerto’s closing notes resonated. Not unusually, Yunchan Lim took the Gold Medal. The Silver Medal went to Anna Geniushene, whilst Dmytro Choni positioned 3rd. I additionally wasn’t shocked via Lim successful the award for target market favourite.

I feel sorry about that positive of my favourite applicants didn’t make it thru to the finals, and I’m certain that there might be plenty of post-competition debate about why pianist X relatively than pianist Y positioned 2d or 3rd. Yet I’ve attempted to name issues as I heard them, so as to discuss, and to lead readers against a wealth of fantastic track making. I will be able to most effective consider all of those pianists’ pleasure in returning to the arena of reside efficiency.

To watch movies from this yr’s competitors, consult with the Cliburn International Piano Competition website online:

Gramophone is a Media Partner of The Cliburn International Piano Competition

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