Joyce Yang, Silver Medalist, 12th Van Cliburn Piano Competition=BACH: Overture in French Style; LISZT: Reminiscences de Don Juan; Hungarian Rhapsody No. 6 in D-flat; VINE: Piano Sonata No. 2; SCARLATTI: Sonata in D Major – Harmonia mundi

by | Nov 7, 2005 | Classical CD Reviews | 0 comments

Joyce Yang, Silver Medalist, 12th Van Cliburn International
Piano Competition = BACH: Overture in French Style, BWV 831; LISZT:
Reminiscences de Don Juan; Hungarian Rhapsody No. 6 in D-flat; VINE:
Piano Sonata No. 2; D. SCARLATTI: Sonata in D Major, K. 492 – Harmonia
Mundi HMU 907 405  64:14 ****:

Every four years since 1962, the Van Cliburn Competition in Fort Worth,
Texas, aims to discover new and exciting, young keyboard talent. Korean
Joyce Yang, aged 19, earned the Silver Medal and a Steven de Groote
Memorial Award for the Best Performance of Chamber Music, and a
Beverley Taylor Smith Award for the Best Performance of a New Work. The
assembled recital from the Competition embraces performances by Ms.
Yang given May 20-June 5, 2005.

Some deft programming marks the recording debut of Ms. Yang, whose
juxtaposition of Bach, Liszt, and Carl Vine (b. 1954) make for striking
contrasts, contours, and colors. Except for one momentary finger-slip,
Yang’s execution of Bach’s eight-movement B Minor Partita (1735) from
the Clavier-Uebung is stylish and brisk. The opening French overture in
dotted rhythm soon yields to a bouncing 6/8 section in brilliant
counterpoint. Yang doe not try to be Glenn Gould; she rather relishes
the percussive and pointillist possibilities of the modern piano
without sacrificing dynamics or sonority. The deft fortepiano required
by the concluding Echo section elicits hearty applause from the
audience. Liszt’s 1841 adaptation of select tunes from Mozart’s Don
Giovanni provides a flamboyant vehicle for performers; and virtuosos as
widely diverse as Abby Simon, Charles Rosen, and Egon Petri have
squeezed plenty of bravura juice from its pulp. Yang plays the music
for its sweep and lyric character, the La ci darem la mano and Fin
ch’an dal vino’s both benefiting from Yang’s detaché and nimble
strokes, eventually working up to a feverish peroration.

Australian composer Carl Vine’s Piano Sonata No. 1 (1991) receives its
award-winning performance from Yang. A labyrinthine, moody piece, it
likes to layer its effects in the manner of canonic stretti, utilizing
highly intricate cross-rhythms and dense block-chords. There are
lighter effects, including some extended glissandi. The two-movement
work, perhaps an extension of Scarlatti (who follows) or late
Beethoven, offers an active, muscular moto perpetuo in the final
movement, tinted by chorale motifs. The little Scarlatti D Major
pursuant to Vine makes yet another boldly delicate contrast. Finally,
the D-flat Rhapsody (1853), whose charms first struck me via Byron
Janis. The gypsy riffs and the elongated fioritura, cross-fertilized by
resounding double octaves, certainly have Yang and her audience in
thrall, and Yang’s old-time finale has the audience unabashedly
cheering for the new star.

–Gary Lemco

Related Reviews