Thursday, October 6, 2022
St David’s Hall, Cardiff
The Rachmaninov was compelling for its understatement, Yeol Eum Son’s music-serving virtuosity underlining the poetry of the music, its capacity to inveigle emotionally without any need for showing-off or histrionics, reminding of Garrick Ohlsson and Leonard Slatkin in Detroit, https://www.classicalsource.com/concert/detroit-symphony-orchestra-leonard-slatkin-lost-vegas-billy-the-kid-garrick-ohlsson-plays-rachmaninov-live-webcast/, and not forgetting the recent Cliburn winner, Yunchan Lim, http://www.colinscolumn.com/yunchan-lims-cliburn-winning-performance-of-rachmaninovs-third-piano-concerto-marin-alsop-conducting-now-in-better-sound/, or Sergei Babayan (also Detroit), http://www.colinscolumn.com/detroit-symphony-orchestra-jader-bignamini-conducts-brahmss-second-symphony-sergei-babayan-plays-rachmaninovs-third-piano-concerto-live-dso-webcast/.
Yeol Eum Son impressed throughout, nothing was short-changed yet there was never the feeling that she was reticent, for the music spoke volumes, and was accompanied with consideration by BBCNOW and Ryan Bancroft, save for too loud cymbal clashes (!) in the Finale, and the feeling, come the conclusion, that he now felt a few fireworks were needed, while she continued to be discerning yet so productive and listenable. An encore from her would have been very welcome.
Speaking for myself, it was perhaps too soon for another Rite, following Vladimir Jurowski, http://www.colinscolumn.com/london-philharmonic-orchestra-releases-vladimir-jurowski-conducting-stravinsky-volume-one/, and Martyn Brabbins, http://www.colinscolumn.com/bbc-proms-2022-prom-20-martyn-brabbins-conducts-birtwistle-tom-borrow-plays-ravels-g-major-piano-concerto-live-bbc/. (By the way, the Proms just gone all remain available on BBC Sounds for a few more days, until the 11th, I believe.) As for this Stravinsky from Cardiff, the opening bassoon solo was a work of art and the following interaction of woodwinds was expertly blended. From there, despite well-prepared and fired-up playing, things could be a little gabbled or heavily portentous, and with over-stressing of the folksong elements; some interesting highlighting of detail though (we weren’t told which edition was being used, there are at least four). The opening of Part Two was notably atmospheric, then a bit rushed or a trifle distended, and with the unexpected instrument peeking through. The ‘Sacrificial Dance’, fast, ended the performance thrillingly, displaying conductor and orchestra rapport.