Author Topic: The Asian Invasion  (Read 6058 times)

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Offline Todd

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Re: The Asian Invasion
« Reply #80 on: October 13, 2017, 05:50:35 AM »



Yin Chengzong appears to be something of a grand old man of Chinese pianism.  Born during the Second Sino-Japanese War, he lived through the upheavals in his country for decades and had to conform to artistic norms, and he managed to have a hand in creating and performing some works that are still around today.  He moved to the US in the early 80s, worked with some Western A-listers, and did the professor thing.  This recording of Debussy's Preludes dates from the late 90s, when Yin would have been in his late 50s.

Yin's pacing overall is slightly broad at over 83', but his pacing for each piece is just about spot-on.  Never once did I think his pacing was too slow, and his dynamic shading is superb, particularly at the quiet end of the spectrum.  His playing becomes nearly strident in the loudest passages, but the una corda use prevents that from coming to fruition in all but the very loudest passages.  Too, Yin's tonal palette is nicely varied.  Danseuses de Delphes starts the cycle off just swell, but Voiles offers a better sense of what the pianism is like when nuance rules, and while Le vent dans la plaine has some of that near hardness, it also reveals Yin as a pianist who can work harmonic (near-) magic, and play with clarity sufficient to appreciate some accompaniment patterns more than normal.  Ce qu'a vu le vent d'ouest approaches levels of hardness and oomph I usually associate with Zimerman, but Yin does something different, turning the piece into something more expressionistic than impressionistic, if you will, a big, hardened Etude that Schoenberg might have secretly edited, which is then followed by a soft La fille aux cheveux de lin as a musical antidote.  La Cathédrale engloutie, always the climax of the first book for me, starts off tense rather than calm, and builds to grand and satisfying fortissimo, bracing in its impact.  Yin sounds even more at home in the second book, with a more modern, more Etude-y feel overall.  Sometimes he manages to sort-of miss but even more hit, as in Les fées sont d'exquises danseuses, where the playing doesn't shimmer or sound as effortless and flowing as others, but that is purposefully done, and the effect is both enjoyable and distinct.  La terrasse des audiences du clair de lune finds Yin's right-hand playing slowly, but not too slowly, ascending very deliberately before transitioning to a dynamically constrained and cool piece.  Rarely does this piece stand out so much for not really standing out at all.  Well done.  Likewise Ondine.  Though very different, Yin's right hand playing craftily evokes Ravel's piece of the same name in subtle ways mostly focused on shimmering playing, and makes me wonder what he might have done with a full Gaspard.  Yin's style in Canope and Les tierces alternées ends up emphasizing slightly slow (overall) right hand playing with lots of focus on individual notes and chords, and the Feux d'artifice starts slow-ish, with almost comical left hand chords, before the fast, shimmering right hand comes to the fore.  The playing throughout is very fine, creating any mood the pianist wants to, with Yin equally at home in gentle and tender passages and powerful, masculine ones. 

Overall, I had no real expectations for this set since I'd never heard Mr Yin's playing, but it turns out to be rather good.  It doesn't displace my established favorites, but it doesn't have to. 
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Offline Todd

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Re: The Asian Invasion
« Reply #81 on: October 16, 2017, 05:24:29 AM »



I figured I might as well try some videos from Amazon while they’re free.  This one seemed like a good place to start: An even younger Yuja Wang at the 2010 Verbier Festival playing some core rep advertised as focusing on Schubert and Schumann, with some Scriabin and Prokofiev included.

The recital opens with the Liszted Gretchen am Spinnrade from Schubert.  Unsurprisingly, Wang has no problem playing the music, and she just sort of cruises along, generating lovely, tuneful music as needed, playing the repeated right hand accompaniment with a serene ease, until the very Lisztian climax, which she dispatches with ease.  She seems more at home in the more virtuosic music, and she literally doesn’t break a sweat, no matter how much of blur her hands become and how much of her shoulders she puts into it.  The same can be written about Auf dem Wasser zu singen.  Wang sounds more in control than Motoi Kawashima, which is no mean feat, but she never generates a steely sound.  Next is Erlkönig, and Wang just tears right into the piece.  Whether belting out left hand chords or dashing off repeated right hand notes, Wang just does her thing.  The playing lacks the last word in diabolicality when the boy buys the farm, but that’s because it’s too easy, though it should be stated that the playing does not want for bite and drive.  One can certainly want more in the way of warm lyricism throughout the three pieces, but that’s not what Wang wants to do, and what she wants to do she does very well, indeed.

Schuman’s Symphonic Etudes follow.  Wang’s playing style better suits the Florestan passages.  She seems to relish the faster passages, playing with verve and dexterity at the level of Yuja Wang.  She often sounds fast, but never rushed.  The Allegro marcato fourth etude is comparatively light with crisp rhythm, and the Agitato sixth etude finds Wang playing at such velocity as to nearly sound rushed.  Nearly.  In the Andante eighth etude, one encounters the shortcoming of this performance, which is a Eusebius that seems moody, possibly due to excess caffeine consumption.  It’s all outward and showy, but it works for what it is, as does the Mendelssohn-on-speed Presto possibile.  This is a version long on excitement and short on introspection and poetry, but there’s no doubting the execution, or, really, the artistic vision.

The second half of the show, with Wang donning an even nicer looking dress than in the first half, starts off with some Scriabin.  The Prelude Op 11, No 11 is slightly quick but lovely and restrained.  The Op 13, No 6 Prelude sounds bold and fiery, while Op 11, No 12 is gorgeous and dreamy, showing that Wang can produce any sound and effect she chooses.  The Prelude Op 8, No 9 returns to fiery playing.  The Poem Op 32, No 1 again reveals Wang’s more nuanced interpretive side, and makes me kinda hear what she can do with Debussy or, hell, why not, Mompou.  Volodos recorded Mompou, and that turned out well, to put it mildly. 

The last big work is Prokofiev’s Sixth Sonata.  In the Allegro moderato, Wang is not afraid to play the dissonant passages with some real sting, and while she also plays with plenty of forward momentum in the faster passages, she also observes the moderato directive and doesn’t speed through it just to speed through it.  She also plays with some touching tonal beauty in slower passages, and she real pounds out the most intense music later in the movement.  The Allegretto starts as a playful march and turns into something of a demented dance in the outer sections, though Wang keeps it from becoming dark or heavy.  Anchored by tangy right hand playing, the Tempo di valzer lentissimo is uncommonly lovely in the outer sections and rather pointed in the middle, while the Vivace closer moves forward at all times, even in the slow section, with Wang’s drive and articulation world class.  This is an outstanding performance of the Sixth, one of the best I’ve heard, and it’s the best thing I’ve heard from Wang.

The encores – Chopin’s 64/2 Waltz, a transcription by Wang of a Melody from Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice, and Cziffra’s supervirtuosic reworking of Strauss’ Tritsch-Tratsch-Polka – all let Wang relax a bit and show what she can do in lighter fare, though not less demanding. 

Sound is excellent if not SOTA.  (I’m thinking a lossless copy would sound better than streaming.)  I think Ms Wang might just have a bright career ahead of her.
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Offline Todd

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Re: The Asian Invasion
« Reply #82 on: October 20, 2017, 05:55:47 AM »



I enjoyed Yuja Wang’s 2010 Verbier Festival recital enough to give her 2013 appearance with Gautier Capuçon a shot.  The pair play Cello Sonatas from Shostakovich and Rachmaninoff, and the Grand Tango for Cello and Piano by Astor Piazzolla. 

The program starts off with the Shostakovich.  In one of the less surprising occurrences in my listening experience, neither artist has any difficulty playing the music.  A bit more surprising, though not much, is that Capuçon is the star of the show.  Wang can and does play very well indeed, but she doesn’t seem to have quite the same feel for DSCH that she does for Prokofiev, and while her playing cannot be faulted in terms of hitting the notes, she doesn’t seem to infuse much urgency or darkness or bite.  The playing is more sleek and efficient, amply powerful when need, but in support of the cello.  Capuçon delivers the goods.  His tone, while not the biggest, at least as recorded, is full and rich, and his intonation is spot on.  He digs in when he should, and slashes away in the two Allegros as appropriate.  I’ve only got a couple other versions of this – Gabetta/Ursuleasa and Harrell/Ashkenazy – and this performance cedes overall quality to the Harrell/Ashkenazy version, which sounds more lived in, with both players giving their all, albeit in studio conditions with many takes possible.  (As an aside, the score Capuçon uses has the word “Beethoven” in large letters right across the top, as can be seen in the cover image.)

Wang seems to be more at home in the Rach.  Her playing sounds more flowing, and she’s not shy about overpowering Capuçon on occasion.  He doesn’t seem to mind ceding the limelight, and in any event, when it’s his turn, he offers his own robust playing.  Rather like the Chiesa/Baglini pairing in this work, Capuçon/Wang offer a more modern, sleek take on romantic playing, though it might, might be slightly more romanticized than the studio effort.  It’s certainly got the verve and the drama to satisfy, and comes off relatively better than the DSCH. 

Having finished off the big works, the duo deliver a beefy and vibrant and buoyant Piazzolla (extended) encore.  It’s lighter than the other works, but it makes for a nice change of mood and leaves the patrons smiling. 

This recital basically lived up to expectations.  Two young/ish stars of the day deliver the goods in memorable if not necessarily for-the-ages performances.  If I had the chance to hear this duo in person, I’d happily plump for tickets. 
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Offline aukhawk

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Re: The Asian Invasion
« Reply #83 on: October 20, 2017, 07:10:55 AM »
Wang can and does play very well indeed, but she doesn’t seem to have quite the same feel for DSCH that she does for Prokofiev, and while her playing cannot be faulted in terms of hitting the notes, she doesn’t seem to infuse much urgency or darkness or bite.

Perhaps because, as I've remarked elsewhere, Shostakovich's piano music in general seems pitched somewhat below the highest level of virtuosity - which is not to say it isn't fine music, but it is music that Dmitri or Maxim can play.  Not playing to Wang's strengths, maybe.

Offline Todd

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Re: The Asian Invasion
« Reply #84 on: October 23, 2017, 05:33:14 AM »



I spotted Ilia Kim's new release of four Muzio Clementi sonatas and preludes a couple months back, and when it came out, it was available only at premium price.  As it turns out, the price of admission is $0.  Both of Ms Kim's CD releases are available on YouTube.  It appears that she's the one who posted the recordings, or perhaps it was her record label, so I figured I might as well try both, starting with the Clementi. 

Ms Kim was born in Seoul, started studying in her home country, moved to Germany for further study starting at age eleven, did some additional studies in Austria, and then commenced on the touring life, and eventually ended up in Italy.

The first work on the disc is Op 2, No 2, and Kim shows that she has a light, quick touch, sure rhythmic sense and command of the music.  The music is basically just light, fluid fun, with a tiny bit of drama in the Rondo.  Op 7, No 3 is much the same in the first movement, with a bit more fire in the last movement, and a more introspective, in a surface sort of way, Cantabile e lento.  The two brief Preludes are light fun.  The Op 13, No 6 sonata has a very Beethovenian sound to it, and perhaps Lou took some inspiration from it.  The disc ends with Op 40, No 3, which is slightly more robust yet, though it still remains in the late Mozart/Haydn, early Beethoven vein.  Since I happen to fancy that style of piano sonata, it's just splendid. 

Kim's playing overall is lighter and more superficial and slightly more stylistically contained than Pietro De Maria's, to mention my most recent foray into Clementi's music, but it is just about as compelling, and it makes me think I really need to explore more of the composer's oeuvre.  I just want that Tipo box, dammit.  I also need to listen to Kim's other disc post-haste.

Sound on YouTube can be problematic.  Here, it allows one to appreciate every aspect of Ms Kim's playing, but the piano sounds light.  Given Kim's liking for Fabbrini Steinways, I tempted to think it's a Fabbrini-ized model B or C - it certainly doesn't sound like a nine-footer - but the recording may be bass shy, or maybe Kim doesn't play with much left hand heft.  I may just have to buy the disc to see if the instrument info is included (it isn't always on Piano Classics releases), and to get every last iota of sound quality out of the recording. 
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Offline Todd

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Re: The Asian Invasion
« Reply #85 on: October 27, 2017, 05:33:08 AM »



Figured I might as well try Ilia Kim's first disc while it's still free.  The disc starts with Schumann's Humoreske.  The piano sound on YouTube is close and dry and a bit plinky, and doesn't display the sound usually produced by a Fabbrini Steinway, so listening through that, Kim plays with nice differentiation between the Florestan and Eusebius sections.  Her fingerwork is generally quite nimble, her dynamic contrasts ample, her rubato fine.  She sounds freer and more fluid than either Hisako Kawamura or Da Sol Kim, though the latter's command sounds more sure.  That written, Ms Kim's Eusebius is dreamier and more introspective yet expressive than the other two pianists, and she plays much more than just surface deep.  I rather dig her approach to Schumann.

The Liszt Sonata, at thirty-one minutes, is on the broad side overall, though much of the playing is suitably swift.  To be sure, while she can play the work well, when compared to the last three versions I listened to before this - Kamenz, Angelich, and Pogorelich - Kim does not display superhuman virtuoso command; rather, she displays the more human variety.  Also, in comparison to those three very distinctive readings, Kim's is fairly straight-forward.  She does take her time with some of slower music, and it sounds attractive, though it doesn't offer a tender musical portrait of Gretchen, a la Kamenz, but instead offers a more abstract and formal approach.  There's a lot to enjoy in this recording, but it's not one of the great recordings of the work.  If a listener wants to go the YouTube route for the Sonata, I would certainly suggest the 1982 University of Maryland performance by Nelson Freire instead.

Franck's Prélude, Choral et Fugue ends the disc.  Chamayou and Block and maybe Rubackytė aside, I tend to power through this work when it pops up on a disc.  The small-ish scale, bass light sound of the recording actually benefits the piece here, which Kim dispatches with enough verve to entertain.  I doubt I will ever listen to this disc again because of this piece, though.

The YouTube sound of the Fabbrini Steinway is bass light and ultimately not satisfactory, so I will probably have to buy both of Ms Kim's discs at some point to get a better idea of what she sounds like.
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Offline Todd

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Re: The Asian Invasion
« Reply #86 on: October 30, 2017, 04:53:11 AM »



Klara Min is yet another Korean pianist with a fine pedagogical pedigree making a first appearance in my collection.  In her case, she studied with no less a pianist than Byron Janis, so one must assume she has chops.  True, she stated that his lessons were more about musical philosophy than technique, but since she was already a degreed adult when she started working with the great pianist, that sort of makes sense.  Apparently, she's also up on the business side of things as she founded and is the artistic director of New York Concert Artists and Associates, and she currently lives in both New York and Berlin.  This recording of assorted Scriabin works on the Steinway & Sons label is her third release, and also her third label.  Though the release has no booklet, the marketing folks still managed to squeeze in four tasteful glamour shots of the pianist. 

The disc contains thirty-four tracks of Scriabin's smaller scale fare, with the 24 Preludes Op 11 taking up the lion's share of the disc.  Min displays a wonderfully nuanced touch from note one.  Her tone is a bit bright overall, but there are many shades to be heard, and her dynamic nuances are quite appealing.  While the first four tracks all sound just lovely, it's the fifth track, the Poeme fantastique, Op 45, No 2, where one's ears really perk up.  Mostly quiet and lovely, she seductively deploys both rubato and dual dynamic levels somewhere between p and pp.  The playing is fastidious to the Nth degree, but here that is high praise, not criticism.  Finally, in the Sixth Prelude, Min plays with some oomph, and it turns out just swell.  She plays loud from time to time throughout the disc, but mostly the music is less extroverted and the style more inward looking.  It takes not inconsiderable skill to make the playing sound as appealing as here.  So much beauty, so much control, so much nuance.

The 2015 recording was made in Sono Luminus Studios, and not unexpectedly, sound is superb.  The close microphone placement definitely benefits the quieter playing more, though maybe a tad more space could have benefitted the loudest passages.  I look forward to hearing more from Ms Min. 
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Offline Todd

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Re: The Asian Invasion
« Reply #87 on: November 03, 2017, 06:03:31 AM »



I spotted this disc of conductor Shi-Yeon Sung leading the Gyeonggi Philharmonic in Mahler’s Fifth recently, and I tried to decide if I should buy it.  It looks like I didn’t have to.  UMG uploaded the disc to YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bkKahBboqgY&list=PLlxE-pcMA1N4x1vVoZo0qBDQsaI7PTpCU), and the Gyeonggi Philharmonic uploaded a concert performance of the same symphony to YouTube, as well (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eqVmq51srzM).  I figured I might as well go the free route since it is open, and I figured I should listen to both versions, just because.

To the conductor, Shi-Yeon Sung is one of a small but growing number of female conductors, and she’s been on something of a roll in the last decade or so.  Born in South Korea, she took up the piano at age four, trained at various European music schools of note, started winning major conducting contests in 2006, became the Boston Symphony Orchestra’s Assistant Conductor in 2007, and Chief Conductor of the Gyeonggi Philharmonic Orchestra in 2014.  I was very much interested in hearing this recording if for no other reason than I’ve never heard a woman conduct Mahler.

To the music, both versions are, not surprisingly, very similar in overall approach.  The Decca recording, even on YouTube, sounds better, and the execution sounds more assured, almost certainly due in part to multiple takes.  The following description applies to both versions, unless noted.  The Trauermarsch starts slow and solemn, with Sung building up to some more intense playing later on.  Everything holds together quite well.  Better yet is the second movement, which certainly starts off vehemently stormy, but Sung and her band back off nicely and then alternate between tightly executed, stormy playing, and something more introspective.  The music never sounds maudlin or overwrought.  In the concert version, Sung brings out the dance-like elements of the Scherzo very nicely, and she keeps much of the music light (for Mahler) and the pacing very nice.  The brass may not equal a band like the CSO, but that’s OK, it's a concert.  The Decca version sounds somewhat stiffer or more formal, though more tightly conceived.  There are no brass issues of note.  The live Adagietto is just lovely and at about ten-ish minutes, nicely paced.  The studio effort at closer to eleven-ish minutes, is more beautiful yet, and more overtly romantic.  The Rondo is played at a nice tempo, has ample energy and adequate clarity and ends up closing out the work in excellent fashion.  Overall, I rather enjoyed both renditions.  I’d give the overall nod to the Decca recording.  While neither is the best version I’ve heard, both are far from the worst.  I’m not sure I feel compelled to buy a copy since the symphony is not my favorite, but it is clear that Ms Sung should record more, and depending on what, if anything, she records, I may very well snap up future offerings.  If she ends up recording a Mahler cycle, I will likely buy it.

There are some sound issues in the live recording.  The highs are rolled off, and the lows, while weighty (augmented by the use of a sub), are muddy.  The Decca upload sounds better, with more extension, better clarity, and better everything else, too.  I suspect the disc or a lossless download would sound better yet.
« Last Edit: November 03, 2017, 02:35:23 PM by Todd »
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Offline Todd

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Re: The Asian Invasion
« Reply #88 on: November 06, 2017, 06:05:08 AM »



Time for more Chopin, this time from Dizhou Zhao.  Mr Zhao was born and raised in Shanghai, where he obtained most of his training, though he also spent some time studying with Jerome Lowenthal.  He competed in multiple competitions, though not the biggest name ones, and after winning the Louisiana International Piano Competition, he recorded this 2009 disc of Chopin's Etudes for the Russian label Classical Records.

Zhao is one of a growing number of pianists who seem to have no real problem playing these pieces.  The playing throughout the set is generally excellent, and one can hear why the pianist might do well in competitions.  Zhao seems at his best in the faster pieces that can benefit from tight execution and flashy display.  For instance, 10/5 is especially fleet and exciting.  However, this is followed by a 10/6 that doesn't sound especially expressive.  And so it mostly goes throughout the first dozen etudes.  Op 25 opens with a more expressive first etude, and the the third is played as a dandy, light galop.  The second set contains a dud in 25/5, which doesn't sound really coherent, but otherwise the other eleven etudes in this set come off slightly better than the first dozen. 

This isn't really a bad recording, but the thing with the Etudes is that there are so many really good and great recordings to choose from that merely acceptable won't do.  Among younger pianists, Lisiecki and Chochieva both deliver versions more to my liking, as do Freire and Yokoyama and Pollini and, well, you get the idea. 

The recording is available on YouTube. 
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Offline Todd

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Re: The Asian Invasion
« Reply #89 on: November 10, 2017, 07:00:11 AM »



I finally got around to a disc from a pianist I've been generically aware of for a while.  Soyeon Lee was born in Seoul, and spent the first nine years of her life in her original homeland, but then she and her family moved to the US, where she still lives.  She studied at the Juilliard under Jerome Lowenthal, among others, and has won competitions and is now a professor.  She's recorded a handful of discs for Naxos, the first of which was this Scarlatti job in its long-gestating complete set. 

There's certainly no doubt about Ms Lee's chops.  She handles all of the sonatas with ease, with superb dynamic control, a generally snappy rhythmic sense, and well-judged ornamentation.  There's no weak piece on the disc.  It's the very model of high-grade pianism playing very fine core rep.  What's not as apparent is a strong individual character.  Consider Pletnev and Baglini and Pogorelich and Babayan and Zacharias, with their freer dynamics and rubato, and they produce more of a sense of adventure.  Alternatively, Schiff and Hinrichs offer more introspective Scarlatti.  Lee is more straight-forward.  There's certainly nothing wrong with that, and I can see some listeners preferring that approach. 
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Offline Todd

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Re: The Asian Invasion
« Reply #90 on: November 13, 2017, 06:18:18 AM »



I wanted some more chamber music from an Asian ensemble, so I settled on the sole disc from the Kumho Asiana String Quartet.  As with the Dragon Quartet, the cellist is known to me: the great Sung-Won Yang.  This is an early recording from him.  His fellow ensemble members here are Eui-Myung Kim and Soon-Ik Lee on violins, and Eun-Hwan Bai on viola.  The ensemble was funded by the Kumho Corporation of Korea and gave free concerts back in the day.  I wouldn't mind one little bit if some socially conscious corporation opted to give back in that form again now.  The disc contains three core rep staples: Haydn's 76/3, the Ravel, and Dvorak's American Quartet.  It was recorded in LA in 1996.

The disc starts off with the Haydn.  Right out of the gate, one can detect stylistic differences between the Kumho and the Dragon.  While the Dragon are all about modern, sleek execution, the Kumho allow themselves a bit more fun and lightness and flexibility.  The Allegro is bouncy fun, the Poco adagio, with expressive but not overdone vibrato, is elegant and restrained - but not too much so - and the Menuetto is a sprightly, fun dance, and the whole thing wraps up with a vibrant Finale.  The first violin does seem to be in charge, but everyone is heard.  The Ravel is lovely and sounds quick and energetic more than lush.  The Assez vif is really nice and rhythmically incisive, and the clarity of the second violin and viola is quite delightful.  The last two movements are well executed and sleek.  The Dvorak sounds more relaxed, more lyrical, more romantic in nature than the Dragon Quartet.  Think of it as closer to a Czech quartet in approach, whereas the Dragon is closer to an American quartet like the Emerson or Juilliard.  Which approach is right?  Well, both, of course.  Which is better?  Typically, I prefer the approach offered by Czech ensembles and the Kumho Asiana.  To be sure, the great Czech ensembles have the more rustic, folk inspired music down a bit better, and can sound smoother, but the Kumho Asiana are very fine, indeed.  While better versions of each work are available, this is an extremely fine one off disc. 

The recording is available of YouTube.
The universe is change; life is opinion.   Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

Offline Todd

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Re: The Asian Invasion
« Reply #91 on: November 20, 2017, 06:52:39 AM »



Miao Huang at bat.  Born in China, Ms Huang performed most of her formal studies in Germany, where she now lives.  In addition to studying piano, and like Corey Cerovsek and Kit Armstrong, Ms Huang is a bona fide intellectual in another area, having earned a master's in business mathematics.  This Chopin and Ravel disc on Genuin from 2013 is her only one so far. 

This is the fourth new recording of Chopin's Third Sonata I've bought in the last few months, and I'm not really a huge fan of the work.  Huang, unlike the others, omits the repeat in the Allegro maestoso.  She plays with flexibility and tonal variety similar to Gotsouliak's, though she plays more quickly.  She does not play with the poetry and sweep of Goerner, but she's not necessarily lacking in those areas.  She does not display the forensic precision and command of Lim, but she's no slouch.  And by omitting the repeat, the movement, as played here, seems to cohere better than Gotsouliak's recording, as well as a number of others.  Huang zips through the Scherzo with a robust smoothness, and opens the Largo with suitable power before moving to a more lilting and lovely style that flows along nicely, even if the playing lacks the coherence and flawlessly maintained musical line that Lim offers.  The Presto nan tanto is played at a nicely energetic but not rushed pace, and Huang again displays nice tonal variation and a flowing sound.  She's not afraid to pedal to obtain her effects, which is just fine.  It is an excellent version overall, and I prefer it to Gotsouliak, but it is not as compelling as either Goerner's or Lim's readings.

The Barcarolle follows.  It is about the same length as Lim's, but here one can hear her sounding a bit more rushed than Lim, and while her warmer tone might be considered more attractive in some ways than Lim's, and her playing is really quite fine, it just doesn't possess the same degree of overall awesomeness that Lim brings.

Gaspard ends the disc.  In Ondine, Huang's warm, rounded tone - her playing displays zero rough edges throughout - does an excellent job creating a lovely, clean yet dreamy sound, and the climax has a formidable left hand foundation.  Le Gibet maintains the warm sound, which could be something of a distraction given the music, but she keeps it slow and controlled.  Huang dispatches Scarbo with admirable clarity and energy, but it lacks especially wide dynamic swings, and it lacks something in terms of scampishness, malevolence, or rude vigor that the best versions bring.  It's a bit too polite.  Huang's Gaspard is excellent overall, but here there are many top flight versions from decades ago as well as the recent past, and this doesn't displace or augment my favorites. 

SOTA sound. 
The universe is change; life is opinion.   Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

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