Review of Jong-Gyung Park’s piano concert in the Hayward Theatre on Friday 8th March 2013 as part of the King’s School Ely Concert Series

ImageEly is very fortunate. The high standard of the performers in the concerts the King’s School Ely Concert Series provides is equal to any heard in big cities Europe-wise. Tonight’s impressive performer was Jong-Gyung Park who transfixed the audience with a high-powered contrasting programme of piano music.

Her concert opened with the potent ‘Klaviersonate, op. 1’ by Alban Berg. This relatively modern work was magnificent in her hands. With an unswerving touch, every note was given its necessary role. Thoughtful phrasing, variations of expression, exquisite timing and tremendous climaxes breathed fire into this complex composition. The internal tensions were delightfully explored.

The next composition, Chopin’s ‘Sonata no.3 in B minor, op. 58’ demonstrated Chopin’s many fascinating qualities: The first movement, Allegro maestoso, featured finely – shaped lyrical beauty, the composer’s nostalgic poignancy ever-present. In the second movement, ‘Scherzo. Molto Vivace’, she captured a certain playfulness while mastering perfectly its virtuosic demands. The serenity and attention to detail in the Largo movement led to an impressive final movement, its moments of flamboyant gymnastics magnificently handled while the whole overriding musicality transfixed the listeners.

Britten’s ‘Holiday Suite’ began the second half of the programme and she captured the character of each movement exactly. One could recognize the jagged snatches of sparkling splashes of water in ‘Early morning Bathe’. The composition was further enlivened with the smoothness of ‘Sailing’ , the mischievous helter-skelter moments in ‘Funfair’ and the serene stillness of ‘Night’.

‘Piano Sonata  No.26 in Eb major, op.81a’ by Beethoven gave us a taste of Classical music, although the romantic passions of the piece were well drawn out by this phenomenal performer. Her ability to create different dimensions of sound at different registers simultaneously gave this piece significant depth. The expressiveness of the three movements, ‘Les Adieux’, ‘L’Absence’ and ‘Le Retour’ was ever apparent.

The programme ended with a mammoth composition by Ravel. This ‘La Valse’ often harked back to the light-hearted smooth rhythm of the Viennese Waltz we all know and love, but in Ravel’s hands expertly performed by the fine pianist, the waltz was transformed into mammoth proportions including gigantic gestures and phenomenal technical demands.

The well deserved encore relaxed us with a delicate and sonorous ‘Berceuse’ by Chopin.

This was indeed yet another wonderful concert provided by the King’s School Concert Series. You are advised to book early for their next events including ‘La Bohème’ on Friday 10th May 2013 730 pm.

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