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<<  -- 2 --  Kelly Ferjutz    DELICATE CONFIDENCE


Of course, had all four played the identical concerto, one might have heard other aspects of each pianist's artistry, but it's also hard to maintain concentration when listening to the same piece, over and over. As it was, we heard four very individual performances over the two evenings. Although every note of the competition was broadcast over local classical station WCLV, because of my work schedule I was not able to hear each of the performers in all their recitals. But yet I did hear enough to believe that the judges had chosen wisely in selecting these four young artists for this final round of the competition. A major portion of a young pianist's career is, after all, in concerto format, and it's encouraging to know that classical music does live -- and flourish -- all around the globe.

My only quibble was the allowable choice of the Rachmaninoff concerto -- that knucklebuster supreme. Although I love this concerto, it seemed rather out of place for such an event in which it might well have come up next to a Mozart (Nos 9, 20, 21, 25 or 25) or either of the Chopins from the selection list, which also included all the Beethoven, both Brahms, Grieg, Rachmaninoff 2nd, Schumann and Tchaikovsky. In my opinion, it rather ran away with the young pianist, who differed from the orchestra in several places, and muddied some of the huge runs and cadenzas consisisting primarily of octaves.

Friday evening's first pianist, Spencer Myer of the US, displayed a lyrical elegance in the Beethoven 4th. All the notes were clearly in his fingers and his head, and he drew a warm, full-bodied sound from the Hamburg Steinway. He used only enough body language and emotion to get the point across, otherwise he just sat, calmly, listening to or watching the orchestra. He seemed a very restful and enjoyable pianist to watch.

Mr Kuznetsov, on the other hand was all action, perfectly suited to the frenetic and insouciant Prokofiev 3rd. He played with strength and authority, completely comfortable with the rapidly changing tempos throughout. He was not overly or outwardly emotional, either, letting the music express itself, whether vivacious or dreamy. His chosen piano was the New York Steinway.

Mr Ling and the orchestra were completely attentive to both pianists, with lovely exposed solos here and there from the various principals. Ellen de Pasquale served as concertmaster for both concerts.

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Copyright © 8 August 2005 Kelly Ferjutz, Cleveland USA


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Classical Music Programme Notes for concerts and recordings, by Malcolm Miller