First a big congratulations to George Li, whose opening recital earned him passage to the next round. He’s scheduled to play today, Sunday, June 21, at 10:00 a.m. Pacific Daylight time. (1 p.m. EDT)
Sergei Rachmaninov. Variations on a Theme of Corelli, Op. 42
Franz Liszt. Hungarian Rhapsody No.2 in C-sharp minor, S. 244 (cadenza by Sergei Rachmaninov)
Pyotr Tchaikovsky. Meditation, Op. 72,5; Valse de salon, Op. 51,1
Frederic Chopin. Variations “La ci darem la mano” from Mozart’s opera Don Giovanni, in B flat major Op. 2 (Jan Ekier edition)
Those who missed George’s opener, can revisit it on the Replay.
For consistency of high artistry through the opening recital featuring the works of J.S. Bach, (for Classical: Haydn/Mozart/Beethoven), Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninoff, Liszt, my selected pianists were George Li,(USA), Reed Tetzloff (USA), Alexander Ullman (Great Britain), Andrejs Osakins (Latvia), and Sergey Redkin (Russia).
Sadly, Ullman and Osakins were cut, though I feel their Replays are worth a listen.
I’ve described George’s performance as a “triumph” for its synthesis of emotion and intellect added to its mature musical dimension given the pianist’s tender age of 19.
And while competitor, Adrejs Osakins, had a heart-breaking stumble in his otherwise beautifully rendered J.S.Bach Prelude and Fugue, he retrieved his bearings in remaining works to a noble conclusion. (Osakins was cut from Round Two)
A catch fire, communicative pianist, Osakins joins George Li in the total immediacy, and ear-catching spontaneity of his playing with its varied colors and emotional shifts. He produces a gorgeous sound without offensive banging in FFs or sFzs, and his dynamic palette is rich and diverse.
The Latvian has risen well beyond myriads of notes played with flying fingers, to produce melt your heart playing when needed, and has thunderous interpolations with the right degree of passion. Sadly, he’s off the roster.
In summary, what stands out about Li and Oskins is their degree of risk-taking that creates excitement. If we listen to Perahia, Sokolov, or any of the pianistic giants, there’s the element of surprise amidst emotional peaks and valleys while impeccable technical/musical control feeds inspiration.
And finally, those performers who make us feel like we’re engaged in a here and now act of discovery, experiencing our first sunset so to speak, as metaphor, are for me the compelling musicians.
Andrejs Osakins Opening Recital on Replay
Sergey Redkin, a round two survivor, is yet another choice for notable artistry through his first round recital opener.
Control is a strong ingredient of his playing and perhaps he can surrender to the music a bit more here and there but overall his sound is engagingly gorgeous, and each period of composition was exceptionally realized. Without doubt, the pianist kept judges upright and awake during his first round recital particularly one in camera range, who periodically nods off during un-captivating performances.
Reed Tetzloff, a Masters in Musical Performance student at Mannes, played a lovely recital, hallmarked by a magnificent rendition of Haydn’s Eb Sonata, Hob. 16/52. His musical sensitivity is keen and he’s a great communicator. With a permeating singing tone, nursed along by his Russian teacher, Prof. Pavlina Dokovska, he’s well on his way into the Second Round.
And finally, Ullman, who was refused passage to Round 2, is a sensitive musician and communicator. His tone and expression were worthy of recognition but perhaps the kind of playing that drew cheers for its shear volume was top priority for adjudicators.
Hopefully, revisiting performances through replays will give some of the overlooked pianists, the exposure they deserve.
The list of pianists who advanced to the Second Round