by Mike Telin
Llewellyn Sanchez-Werner (24, United States) kicked off the final session of Round 2 with a mesmerizing performance of Beethoven’s Sonata in c, Op. 111. Throughout the daunting work, Sanchez-Werner produced an unblemished sound that highlighted the work’s many dynamic contrasts and sudden shifts in mood. The opening theme of the second movement was beautiful. Moving seamlessly from one variation to the next, his playing was both intimate and full-bodied.
Sanchez-Werner concluded his set with Chopin’s Etude in a, Op. 25, No. 11 (“Winter Wind”) Although his tempo erred on the safe side, his playing was technically precise. His sound was powerful but never overpowered the music.
Lovre Marušić (28, Croatia) began his thoroughly enjoyable set with a splendid performance of J.S. Bach’s English Suite No. 3 in g, BWV 808. The opening Prelude was captivating and full of clean articulations, numbeous color changes, and tight trills. The Allemande was laced with emotion, the Courante spirited, and the Sarabande’s ornamentation sparkled. Following the stately Gavottes, Marušić launched into a flashy Gigue.
During Chopin’s Etude in F, Op. 10, No. 8, the pianist brought levity to the work’s continuous flow of right-hand arpeggios while never obscuring the left hand melody.
Marušić brought a sense of splendour to Liszt’s Spanish Rhapsody, S. 254, making easy work of the composer’s technical extravagance while never losing track of the famous ‘La Folia’ or the ‘Jota Aragonesa’. Brilliant!
Music of Beethoven also opened Peter Klimo’s (30, United States) set. This time it was the Sonata No. 2 in A, Op. 2, No. 2. The Allegro vivace featured nicely-shaped scale passages and tasteful sudden shifts of dynamics. His Largo appassionato was introspective, while the Scherzo: Allegretto was playful. The rolocking Rondo: Grazioso was clean and tidy.
Klimo sounded a bit more at home in Bartók’s Three Burlesques, Sz. 47, producing an array of colorful sounds and strong, weighty percussive motifs. Clean, fast technical passages highlighted the first, while the second was reminiscent of children’s taunting and the third found the same children hissing repeated rhythmic patterns. A fun performance of a fun piece of music.
Takashi Yasunami (29, Japan) utilized a full technical and color palette in his set, which began with Mozart’s Ten Variations on “Unser dummer Pöbel meint,” K. 45. After a jolly presentation of the Theme, the pianist brought an improvised feeling to the variations, each with its own impish characteristics.
The pianist’s ample technique was on display during Chopin’s Etude in c-sharp, Op. 10, No. 4 (“Torrent”), while the concluding Three Intermezzi, Op. 117 of Brahms brought out his emotional capabilities. The first, was a beautiful love song while the second was highlighted by well-shaped phrases that followed naturally from one to the other. The third found Yasunami brooding. His perfectly balanced unison lines were haunting.
Published on ClevelandClassical.com July 26, 2021.
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