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Classical Notes: July 6, 2006 Archive

I really should be practicing

Posted at 5:48 PM on July 6, 2006 by Melissa Ousley
Filed under: Piano eComp

Day Four of the Minnesota International Piano-e-Competition is almost over which means about 24 hours from now the judges will have all the music in their ears needed to decide who will advance to the next round. I don't envy them. I guess I don't really envy the pianists either. The pressure is intense and the number of hours some of them spend in the practice room this week can creep into double digits. For those who are advanced to the next phase of the competition (9), there is no rest. Saturday they will compete in the Schubert Sonata Round. After that, the field is narrowed to six finalists who join the Nicollet Quartet for the Chamber Music Round on Monday and then the Minnesota Orchestra for the Concerto Round next Wednesday and Thursday evenings.

Piano-e-Competition Web site
Watch live video of the competition.

Audio Listen to the forum event (1:04:21s)
Competition founding director Alexander Braginsky and pianist Denis Evstioukhine demonstrate their chops on the Yamaha Disklavier.

Previous Piano-e Posts
Piano-e-Competition, July 5, 2006
Piano-e-Competition, July 4, 2006
Piano-e-Competition, July 2, 2006
Piano-e-Competition, June 29, 2006

Einav Yarden!

Posted at 9:46 PM on July 6, 2006 by Valerie Kahler (27 Comments)
Filed under: Piano eComp

I had the good fortune of catching Einav Yarden's recital this evening. Holy mackerel.

Wow. Right out of the chute she had me sitting on the edge of my chair. She played a bunch of Gyorgy Kurtag's "Games" and they were alternately percussive and gossamer, playful and menacing. The opening movement (Perpetuum mobile)was one back-of-the-hand measured glissando after another. Her control was deadly - there were so many ways that could have sounded like a parlor trick, but it was SO perfectly precise as to be remarkable. She played another set of Kurtag's Games after her Haydn Sonata, and the last one (The Mad Girl With the Flaxen Hair) made most people laugh out loud. Imagine Debussy's Girl...from an alternate dimension.

Audio Listen to Einav Yarden play Gyorgy Kurtag's "Games"

The Haydn sonata was a lovely balance between sit-up-straight precision and beer-garden minuet, the Schumann Kreisleriana was wonderfully colored & emotionally nuanced...but it was the finale that made my jaw hit the floor.

Frederic Rzewski's Winnsboro Cotton Mill Blues was a gutsy closer, both in terms of the extreme physicality of the performance and and because the piece is so unusual.

Audio Listen to Einav Yarden play Frederic Rzewski's "Winnsboro Cotton Mill Blues"

It starts with a growlygrindy factory rhythm in the bass which grows until she's playing with her forearms. (!) Again, it could be, SHOULD be messy and vague but somehow it isn't. It's absolutely crazy. And then...a reverie. You hear a sweet bluesy tune (classical blues, ala Andre Previn) before returning to the spooling of the cotton. She knew this was a crowd-pleaser and obviously enjoyed it herself, taking her bows with a huge grin.

What a ride.

Piano-e-Competition Web site
Watch live video of the competition.

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