Sangyoung Kim, Kristhyan Benitez, Martin Labazevitch, Anna Bulkina & Edward Neeman returned to the Bolton Theatre stage on Sunday afternoon for a second hearing. Although we can’t say that we learned anything radically new about these five highly competent pianists, many of our first impressions were confirmed by hearing them in fresh repertory.
Sangyoung Kim (Korea) impressed us on Thursday afternoon with her Dutilleaux Sonata. She presented only two works on Sunday: a Prelude & Fugue from Bach’s Well Tempered Clavier (f-sharp, Book II) and Schumann’s Carnaval. Her Bach was nicely shaped, building to its harmonic climax with a long crescendo and announcing harmonic arrivals. As in the Dutilleaux, Kim brought fine colors out of the Hamburg Steinway, taming its bright treble register and producing a performance of stylish beauty, reactive to quick changes of mood and bright with humor. She caught the grandeur of Schumann’s piano writing in a way that has eluded previous contestants and brought the first set of the afternoon to a highly agreeable conclusion. Never mind a few klinkers.