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Garam Cho at HIPCC semi-final recitals 2015, photo: John Cole

Romantic evening with Garam Cho

HOT music correspondent Brian Hick enjoyed an evening of romantic piano music in the fifteenth online concert featuring prizewinners in Hastings International Piano Concerto Competition.

Garam Cho’s romantic programme last Friday was matched by the decor in her studio in Seoul. The pink lampshade gave a gentle glow to the room and highlighted the pink blossoms delicately displayed behind the pianist. Garam Cho was the second prize-winner in the 2015 Hastings International Piano Concerto Competition and combined works by Liszt and Chopin, but opened with an arrangement of Gershwin’s Embraceable You.

Jazz pianist Earl Wild created seven virtuoso Etudes based on Gershwin songs of which Embraceable You is one of the most captivating and lyrical. The long fluid ornamentation of the lines leads to something of an indulgent wallow for us as listeners though the technical demands for the pianist are very high throughout.

Petrarch Sonnet No 104 comes from the second year of his Années de pèlerinage, written between 1835-38 and published in 1842. It is an emotionally intense work throughout with the flair and flourish Liszt displayed at the height of his powers. Garam Cho clearly delights in both the challenge of the work and the need to communicate the warmth at its heart even as the narrative washes over us.

Chopin’s Ballade No4 in F Minor Op 52 concluded the programme. Written the same year as Liszt’s Petrarch Sonnet it is an equally challenging romantic piece dedicated to Baroness Rothschild who had introduced the composer to le Tout-Paris. It opens in a surprisingly quiet and introspective way but builds through a series of developments to a fiery climax, full of assertiveness and power. Garam Cho used the close acoustic of her small studio with great tact and all three works come across with clarity and great beauty of line.

All photographs 2015 (c) John Cole (07958 491179) taken at White Rock Theatre.

Posted 11:39 Monday, Jun 29, 2020 In: Music & Sound

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