by Daniel Hathaway
Time for second impressions! Ryoyu Huang stepped up first in the second round with Haydn, Britten and the last half of Chopin’s Op. 28 Preludes (he had played the first dozen in the opening round). Huang’s breezy excursion through Haydn’s E Major sonata (Hob. XVI:31) didn’t leave him much room to sniff out details. He played with an agreeably hefty tone, and many of his lines had a good sense of direction. Britten composed his gloomy Notturno for just such a competition as this one (Leeds), giving pianists a catalogue of nuanced effects to tackle, and Huang did a fine job with that. The Chopin set was at times expressive, and at others could have benefited from a bit more emotion (No. 15).
Two Scarlatti sonatas in f minor (K. 387 and K. 519) allowed Pavel Yeletskly to vary his articulation in striking ways and make them into true piano pieces rather than just transcriptions from the harpsichord. [Read more…]