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Friday, October 29, 2010


Soloist played with impeccable technique and poise. (Review by Michael Green)

The Korean pianist Young-Choon Park is one of those remarkable performers from the East who have made such an impact in the world of music in recent years.

She created a fine impression when she gave a recital for the Friends of Music in Durban about two months ago, and now she has appeared with the KZN Philharmonic Orchestra at a symphony concert in the City Hall.

She played one of the major works in the repertory, Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 20 in D minor, K. 566, dramatic, often dark and almost sinister music that shows the full range of Mozart’s genius. As the musicologist Eric Blom said many years ago, the first movement begins and ends with a shudder. There is gentle relief in the slow movement, and the final Rondo is a brilliant example of Mozart’s ceaseless inventiveness.

Young-Choon Park, a small, neat figure on the stage, played with impeccable technique and poise, though I felt that she could have been a little more assertive in the first movement. The lengthy first movement cadenza was most extraordinary, a puzzle for the listeners and, it seems, for the orchestra players. Apparently the pianist had a memory lapse and had to improvise until she reached the trills which enabled the orchestra to rejoin the action.

The slow movement, Romanze, was played with a beautiful cantabile tone, and the Rondo was taken at high speed and with an accurate perception of its contrasting moods.

In all this the conductor, Alessandro Crudele, retained an admirable calmness and control. He is a young man from Italy, a tall elegant figure who conducts with economical but fluent gestures.

The concert opened with Haydn’s Symphony No. 19 in D major, a delightful 12-minute work by the master who wrote 104 symphonies, and ended with Mozart’s great Symphony No. 40 in G minor.

Alessandro Crudele obtained very good results from the orchestra, and his dress, white tie and tails, was a pleasant change from the eccentric garb affected by some other occupants of the City Hall podium. - Michael Green