by Daniel Hathaway
Two splendid solo performances distinguished the third session of the Semifinal Round of the Cleveland International Piano Competition on Saturday afternoon in Gartner Auditorium at the Cleveland Museum of Art, but the truly amazing feature of the afternoon was its finale.
Rafael Skorka (32, from Israel) and Martín García García (24, from Spain) set their strong individual personalities aside and joined their four hands together for an illuminating performance of Schubert’s Fantasie in f that was remarkable for its single mindedness and expressive nuances. Every detail fell neatly into place, but there was no sense that these pianists knew the piece too well. Instead, they made a standard work sound newly minted, its surprises freshly discovered.
The afternoon ended with a standing ovation after the Schubert. It began with a varied program played by Skorka, who earned his bachelor’s degree at the Jerusalem Academy of Music before coming to Cleveland to work with Sergei Babayan at CIM, where he received both his Master’s and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees. [Read more…]