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In Brief: Summer Festival Edition

Here is your regular Sunday selection of links to online audio, online video, and other good things in Blogville and Beyond. (After clicking to an audio or video stream, press the "Play" button to start the broadcast.)

  • You can listen to a rare performance of Jules Massenet's Thérèse (1907), from the Festival de Radio France Montpellier-Languedoc Roussillon, with Johann Christoph Vogel's Démophon (1788) as an appetizer. [France Musique]

  • The Verbier Festival gets under way this week: coming up are performances by Elisabeth Leonskaja, Alexandre Tharaud, Denis Matsuev, and more. []

  • Jérémie Rhorer leads violinist Julien Chauvin and Le Cercle de l’Harmonie in an all-Mozart concert, from the Festival d'Aix-en-Provence. [France Musique]

  • William Christie leads Les Arts Florissants in Marc-Antoine Charpentier's opera David et Jonathas, at the Festival d'Aix-en-Provence. [France Musique]

  • Paul Agnew, in his new role as conductor, leads Les Arts Florissants in excerpts from five Baroque operas, also at the Festival d'Aix-en-Provence. [France Musique]

  • Don't forget that it is also time from the Proms -- listen to the latest performances from the Royal Albert Hall in London. [BBC Proms]

  • Listen to a recital by pianist Luka Geniusas, winner of the Second Prize at the 2010 Chopin Competition in Warsaw. Yes, he plays Chopin but also music of Anton Reicha, Hindemith, and Alexey Sergunin (b. 1988). [France Musique]

  • From the Styriarte Festival, the Zemlinsky Quartet performs music by Dvořák. [Österreichischer Rundfunk]

  • Lutenist Thomas Dunford plays music of John Dowland and contemporary composer Jules Matton (b. 1988), from the Festival de Radio France Montpellier-Languedoc Roussillon. [France Musique]

  • Also from the Styriarte Festival, the Arnold Schoenberg Chor performs sacred music by J. S. Bach and sons. [Österreichischer Rundfunk]

  • Finally, congratulations to Yekwon Sunwoo, who weathered this year's Kapell Competition to take First Prize, followed by Jin Uk Kim (Second Prize), and Steven Lin (Third Prize). [2012 William Capell International Piano Festival]


Owlice said...

Having heard all three pianists in the Kapell finals earlier in the competition, including the semi-final solo round, the decision of the jury was shocking. This is not to take anything away from Sunwoo and Kim, who are excellent musicians, but Lin's playing was astounding, on a different plane. The audiences for the prelims and semis were, as you might imagine, filled with pianists, and many who heard these three throughout the competition were as stunned as I with last night's results.

The competition has resulted in some surprising decisions before, but last night's...

Charles T. Downey said...

After all the coverage I put into the competition, sadly, I had to miss the final concert and so cannot comment. What did you make of the announcement that Sunwoo also won the Audience Award? Were all the listeners asked to cast a vote?

Owlice said...

Well, crud; I was looking forward to hearing your take on the finals.

Sunwoo's Rach 3 was fabulous. Not perfect -- none of the contestants were perfect last night, and last night was the first time I could fault Lin for anything (a couple of small things, but still) -- and the work is a great crowd-pleaser, and the crowd was definitely pleased with it. (All faults last night were small; quibbling over minute things here!) Yes, the audience got to vote, being handed a three-part card with one contentant's name per part on the way in. After the contestants played, one separated the card and turned in the part with one's choice on it. Last night's crowd had more diversity than the prelims and semi audiences, and I totally understand, and respect, the audience's choice.

The jury is supposed to consider earlier playing when deciding the winner; it's not just last night's performance which counts. And the jury picks which concerto, of two submitted with the repertoire, the contestant plays with the orchestra. Several people I talked to last night, before the results were announced, brought up the length of Lin's choice -- the Rach Rhapsody -- and contrasted that to the length of the other works on the program (Brahm's 2nd opened). Lin's other concerto was the Tchaikovsky 1st, which, for whatever reason, the jury did not select for last night. (I had opined to someone that they selected the Rhapsody to make the finals shorter; the finals are always long evenings.)

I heard all three of these pianists in the prelims and the semis, missing only the chamber music round. All three of them were on my list of possibilities to move forward (another on my list was competitor #7, Jeewon Lee, who got more colors out of the Kawai she played than I've heard anyone get out of anything; at times, it sounded as though she'd switched pianos, the sound was so different). I just cannot fathom these results.

Sunwoo was definitely among the top tier of the Kapell contestants for me (and the level of the competition was very very high, so making it into the competition at all indicates great talent and facility), but no one electrified people like Lin did. I was not the only person saying "Wow... wow... " at the end of his prelims and feeling sorry for the contestant who had to follow him (who had a fabulous Winnsboro Cotton Mill Blues). And after Lin's solo semi round, the same thing; he was simply astounding.

Heck, even last night, the audience was completely attentive, silent, rapt, only during Lin's playing. Even Sunwoo's excellent Rach did not command that level of attention; it did get the larger ovation, however, but then, when does a well-played Rach 3 not?

And when did something other than a Rach 2 or 3 win the Kapell? It's been a little while. Sofya Gulyak won with the Rach 3 in 2007, and Ning An with the Rach 2 in 2003. In 1998, Andrey Ponochevny won with the Tchaikovsky #1; a pity Lin's PIT #1 was not selected by the judges for last night's finals. Play a Russian work, but it has to be the right Russian work.

Lin, Sunwoo, and Esther Park (who did not make the Kapell semis), and the 2007 2nd place Kapell winner Sara Daneshpour will be competing in the upcoming Leeds; I will be interested to see its results.