Monday, 2 July 2012

Young-Choon Park Piano Recital: Review

Fay Davies reviews a piano recital by Young-Choon Park at the Portsmouth Festivities

Young-Choon Park
Young-Choon Park is no stranger to the piano. Born in South Korea, she started playing at the age of four, and by the time she was nine she had performed with the Seoul Symphony Orchestra. She has since continued to flourish: broadcasting for radio and television, working with leading orchestras, and giving more than 50 concerts a year all over the globe. On the 28th June, her destination was Portsmouth Library, Menuhin Rooms.

The programme, Mozart followed by Beethoven, was a mixture of popular favourites and lesser known works. With each piece, Young-Choon showed her technical mastery, her musicality and her originality. Even the famous 'Alla Turca' from Mozart's Sonata in A Major was given a personal twist, played with a bewitching restraint that I had not heard before. It was controlled, atmospheric and not at all overindulgent.

The second half began with a jolt, angry and frantic, ensuring us that things were not going to get boring. I got the distinct sense that this was where the real music was going to begin – and it did. Beethoven's Sonata in D minor, aptly named 'The Tempest', is desperate, dark and full of anguish. It is a rare skill, but Young-Choon Park can turn silence into part of her performance. One particularly loud and unexpected cascade of notes managed to make every audience member jump out their skins.

Overall, it is hard to know where Young-Choon Park was more excellent: in her impossibly flawless delivery of near-impossible passages, or in her ability to make the music actually breathe. She captivated the audience before she had played the first note.

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