CIPC's Great Music in Great Spaces:
Kim and Trifonov play Mozart at the Breen
by Mike Telin
What could possibly be better then one Mozart piano concerto performed by a gifted young performer? Well, try two Mozart piano concertos performed by two gifted young performers. That’s exactly what occurred on Friday, June 1at The Breen Center for the Performing Arts, when the Cleveland International Piano Competition presented Musical Encounters, the second concert of the 2012 Great Music in Great Spaces series. Although it may be difficult not to make comparisons, the evening was not a session at a competition, but rather a concert to be enjoyed, and pianists Kyu Yeon Kim and Daniil Trifonov each gave superb performances of their concertos and in doing so relegated any nit-picking comparisons pointless. The two talented pianists backed up by the beautiful-sounding Competition Orchestra under the watchful direction of renowned pianist Sergei Babayan, made for an exquisite night of music listening.
Korean pianist Kyu Yeon Kim, the fourth place prize and Mozart prize winner at the 2011 Cleveland International Piano Competition opened her part of the program with a sensitive performance of Rameau’s Nouvelle Suites de Pieces de Clavecin. While her approach was very pianistic and at times included a little too much pedal, Ms. Kim performed with musical purpose. The Les Trois Mains had a nice light touch and the Fanfarinette was joyful.
It was during Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 9 in E-flat, K. 271 “Jeunehomme” that Ms. Kim’s personality began to show; not only did she look like she was having fun, she sounded like it as well, drawing a warm sound from the instrument and adding a touch of playfulness to the musical lines. The intimacy of the second movement cadenza was exquisite. Babayan and his orchestra were exceptional collaborators. The winds deserved and received standups for their fine job.
Russian pianist Daniil Trifonov is making a name for himself on the international concert stage, having successfully completed the task of winning first prize at the 2011 Rubinstein and Tchaikovsky competitions, as well as third prize at the Chopin competition the previous year. Given these achievements, Mr. Trifonov has obviously impressed a few judges along the way, but his performance on Friday exceeded all expectations. He possesses a huge technique but does not rely on that alone to impress, he uses it to make music.
Mr. Trifonov began his portion of the program with Liszt transcriptions of four songs by Schubert, Fruhlingsglaube; Die Forelle; Auf dem Wasser zu singen and Die Stadt and of Schumann’s Widmung. Throughout, he avoided a self-indulgent approach in favor of sensitivity and shaping of phrase. Die Stad was emotionally gripping and Widmung sang.
During Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 23, K. 488, Mr. Trifonov continued to display his musical maturity, again using his abundant technique for musical purpose. This was a thoughtful performance full of grace, style, and appropriate wit. The outer movements were spirited and the adagio was sublime. Sergei Babayan, with whom Mr. Trifonov currently studies, kept a watchful eye on both soloist and orchestra which yielded a performance of exceptional unaminity.
Click here to comment on this article. All comments will be moderated by the editorial staff.
Published on ClevelandClassical.com June 5, 2012
Click here for a printable version of this article.