Monday, January 10, 2011

Soyeon Lee

Herbst TheatreThis special concert for San Francisco Performances subscribers presented Naumburg Competition winner Soyeon Lee. SF Performances President Ruth Felt introduced the soloist & thanked the Chiu family for sponsoring the concert. Ms. Lee's sound is soft & even, & her playing has a fluid ease. In the sprightly Gavotte of Bach's French Suite in G, she made the opening notes especially short, seeming to pluck them off the keyboard. She was very persuasive in the paired etudes by Unsuk Chin & Ligeti. The Unsuk Chin piece features rapid bursts of notes at the extreme ends of the keyboard, but Ms. Lee made it look & sound graceful. She played the cascading tremolos of the Ligeti Etude with a rippling smoothness that was both beautiful & a bit frightening. I liked the sardonic mood of forced jauntiness she gave to the Shostakovich Prelude & Fugue. She attacked the rapid fugue fearlessly. Ravel's whirling La Valse had some nice washes of sound. The glissandos she did with the back of her hand were almost mechanically uniform & even. The Schumann Carnaval was similarly clean, even & controlled, & Ms. Lee could play some of the movements quite fast. I liked her Chopin movement, so it was not surprising that she offered a real Chopin Nocturne as her encore, though she may have played a wrong chord near the beginning.

The audience was polite & warm, & many stood for Ms. Lee at the end, but the audience did not applaud long enough to get more than one encore. A cell phone went off in the middle of the Schumann, & the lady seated in front of me kept nodding off.

§ Soyeon Lee, piano
2010 Naumburg Competition Winner
SF Performances

Bach: French Suite No.5 in G Major, BWV 816
Unsuk Chin: Etude No. 6, Grains
Ligeti: Etude No. 6, Autumn in Warsaw
Shostakovich: Prelude and Fugue in D-flat Major, Opus 87, No. 15
Ravel: La valse
Schumann: Carnaval, Opus 9

Chopin: Nocturne No. 20, Op. Posth. in C-sharp minor

Sunday, January 9, 2011
Herbst Theatre

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