Discussion in 'Pianists' started by sarah, Mar 7, 2009.
The biggest surprise to me is Haochen Zhang. That guy has no stage presence at all.
I too didn't think he'd have a chance. Maybe the jury favored him because of his age?
that must be it about the age thing w/ haochen zhang.
I LOVE Eduard Kunz's interpretations of stuff. his quintet tonight was absolutely amazing. during the whole second movement there were probably 20 melodies in the left hand that I had literally never heard before which he brought out!
I really really loved Vacatello's prelim recital so I was excited to hear her again (especially her liszt sonata) but she too disappointed in the semi's imo. I was expecting the liszt to be so powerful and.. well, perfect. I thought her's was a little on the slow side though, and sounded too subdued. really her whole semi's recital didn't do much for me :-/
I'm really glad now that Ran Dank made it even though he wasn't on my top 12. his brahms quintet was also outstanding.
AND finally, Evgeni Bozhanov was nowhere on my list of people who I thought should advance, but I've never heard anything like his Schubert today!! :shock: that was SO incredible. I usually hate Schubert, but I think it's just because nobody seems to play it well. at least today I loved it, and it was really a pleasant surprise because I was expecting to be bored stiff for that half hour but I was completely captivated instead
Bozhanov's facial expressions do little for me, but dang he can play! I don't think you'll very see many pianists who play with the precision he does.
He is far and away the most musical of them all, at least from what I've heard. His
chamber rehearsal is even beautiful. I can't wait to hear this piece played in full.
Some people are complaining on the blogs that his playing is not very "traditional",
whatever that means, and the judges may hold that against him. I hope not.
Uh oh, I have to take back what I said about Haochen Zhang. This guy can play!
Wow, there's been some great music-making going on! Now I'm having a hard time picking favorites. I must admit, Kunz's quintet was gorgeous. I'll be out this weekend, so unfortunately I will miss the rest of the semis. :cry: Monday morning may contain quite a revelation in regards to the finalists. :roll:
Tsujii's Schumann quintet was easily his best performance, though the other quintets I have seen were better IMHO. Also fun to see the pianist not using music in a chamber performance.
Will be interesting to see who makes it... :roll:
Though I was unable to hear it all live, I tremendously enjoyed Kunz's semifinal recital. 8)
So what about the finalists? All a superb bunch. Bozhanov is definitely my favorite among this group. His Rach 2 rehearsal with the FWSO this afternoon was quite simply stunning. No Ran Dank or Andrea Lam is a bit disappointing, though. :cry: I would rather have seen either instead of Zhang.
Yeol Eum Son
Tsujii is rehearsing the Chopin E minor right now with orchestra. Quite nice. 8)
Honestly, IMHO, the jury did better with picking the finalists than the semifinalists, as the finalists seemed to make a good deal more sense. I am really eager to see how the jury ranks them in the end. Is it just me, or does Tsujii get better and better as the competition goes on? He seems more comfortable and is very expressive at the keyboard. I'm watching Vacatello's rehearsal with Prokofiev's 3rd... maybe she's going to be a medalist? She's definitely got a lot of personality. :wink:
The finalists are a strong group. IMHO Zhang is the weak link because he lacks the musicality of the others.
And yes, I felt Tsujii has gotten better. His preliminary recital seemed a bit nervous, but I loved his semi performances, both his Schumann quintet and his solo recital. I have a feeling that wonderful Hammerklavier was a major factor in his advance to the finals. 8)
Wow! That was some impressive playing last night. My dad thinks Bazhanov will probably work his way up in the ranks, and I suspect he's right. 8)
Diminished 2nd (or whatever your real name is...I can't remember :roll: ), during intermission between Vacatello and Bazhanov last night, the webcasters were playing highlights from the semis... and one of the clips, as best I could tell, was you getting an autograph from Kunz. You're famous now!
It was! Bozhanov's facial theatrics aren't great, but he more than makes up for that with what comes out of his fingers. 8)
That fool Conlon ruined Tsujii's Rach 2 by speeding up the tempo immediately after the introductory chords. :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil:
Well, Di Wu just brought down the house with Rach 3. Now we wait.
Bronze (crystal): Not awarded.
Silver: Yeol Eum Son
Gold: Haochen Zhang and Nobuyuki Tsujii
:shock: :shock: :shock: :shock:
WHAT WERE THEY THINKING!!!!!
I agree Horowitzian, that is a pretty poor selection of winners in my opinion if the
criterion is musicianship. However late into the night when I was still fuming over
this, I realized that maybe the criterion was not musicianship, but the ability to play
well with others (during some of the intermission videos was the stated goal of Van Cliburn)
which would make the concerto rounds far more important than the recital rounds.
Wu's Rach 3 was a disaster, traditionalists universally despised both of Bohzanov's concerti,
and many think Vacatello's Prok 3 had serious synchronization issues, whereas the
three winners had pretty consistent (although very boring) concerti.
I so looked forward to this competition and I watched every hour of it online, but now
with this group of winners the Cliburn has completely lost relevance for me. I just don't
care, and I dread the thought that Nobu or Zhang might be coming to Chicago as part of
their touring engagements and I will have to see them as part of my subscription series.
One more thing, if anybody reads this... For a real treat, go to www.cliburn.tv and
watch Evgeni Bohzanov's Finals recital round on June 5. His Davidsbundlertanze was amazing.
The most shocking to me was Zhang. I thought he'd get ranked sixth - even the fact that he got in the finals was a real surprise anyway. But to get a gold medal... :shock: I could see the way more clearly with Tsujii, as he seems to me to be a very musical and sensitive pianist (I thought he'd get the Crystal Award, Vacatello the silver, and Bohzanov the gold). Son only made any sense in the fact that the oldest three competitors did not even seem to be in the picture.
I see here a trend for picking the youngest competitors. Zhang and Tsujii were the two youngest finalists, and, if I'm remembering correctly, Son was the third youngest. During the awards ceremony, I think it was Richard R. who stated that the jury was told, essentially, to pick winners that would be the best ambassadors for the Van Cliburn Foundation. The older finalists would be poor choices, since they have already established reputations of their own apart from the Cliburn Competition. Looked at from that perspective, picking two young men who nobody's heard about until now makes plenty of sense. Son does too when looked at in that way. But, in my humble opinion, that's no way to run a competition. And that philosophy is going to seriously hamper the competition's future.
Now I will get off my soapbox and get after my neglected practice. :roll:
Good points, all. No need to add to them.
I will say that I enjoyed everything Bozhanov did (I dig that kind of playing, not the facial theater, just the playing; please go easy on me! :lol: ), especially his Franck quintet which certainly deserved the discretionary prize it got.
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