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Joel Fan Bludgeons Chopin

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Read my review published yesterday in the Style section of the Washington Post:

Charles T. Downey, Pianist Joel Fan performs at the National Gallery of Art
Washington Post, June 7, 2011

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Joel Fan, West of the Sun: Music of the Americas
It was a relief to attend a summertime concert that did not invite the listener to turn off his mind and just relax. Pianist Joel Fan, known for his work with Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Project and his adventurous programming, returned to the National Gallery of Art for a solo recital Sunday evening.

Fan claimed that the choice of music revolved around two themes, “spirituality” from different world cultures and the “breakdown of tonality.” Both applied to the hair-raising rendition of Scriabin’s ferocious fifth sonata, a jumble of melodic themes and near-eclipsing cascades of notes that evoked the summoning of creative force like a sorcerous incantation. In Schoenberg’s “Three Piano Pieces,” op. 11, Fan proceeded from the same sort of post-Romantic chromatic voluptuousness, making the score’s thickets of dissonance as sensual as possible. [Continue reading]
Joel Fan, piano
Music by Schoenberg, Beethoven, Chopin, et al.
National Gallery of Art

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