by Daniel Hathaway
Resuming their ancient tug-of-war for artistic supremacy, Apollo and Dionysius each sponsored a performance of the Tchaikovsky concerto last Friday evening during the final round of the Oberlin Cooper International Violin Competition at Severance Hall with Jahja Ling and The Cleveland Orchestra. It might have been more complicated with a third performance of the Tchaikovsky had not Ming Liu eventually emerged as one of the final three. Her performance of Prokofiev’s second concerto came between Ching-Yi Wei’s and Kyumin Park’s very different takes on the other Russian piece on the program.
First up by way of conductor’s choice was Ching-Yi Wei, 18, from Tainan, Taiwan. His was the Dionysian version, compelling for its physical energy, drive and sense of romantic abandon. After intermission, Kyumin Park, 16, from Seoul, South Korea, brought musical lucidity, variety of tone and a fine sense of pace and scale to Tchaikovsky’s famous showpiece, which seems to respond enthusiastically to different violinistic points of view. Park’s Apollonian reading also boasted a collegial connection to the other onstage musicians, a factor to which the orchestra palpably responded. [Read more…]