Chloe Mun at Rome University ,winner of the 2015 Busoni Competition

Chloe Mun at Rome University
At last able to hear the winner of the 2015 Busoni Competition and winner also of the Geneva competition. Not since Martha Argerich has a woman won both.
Only now 21 Chloe Mun has begun her international career.
A musicians programme of the Mozart Sonata K333,three pieces from Iberia by Albeniz followed after the interval by Schumann Blumenstuck op 19 and the Fantasie op 17.
Some really exquisite piano playing and wonderful musicianship in fact almost perfection from this petite Corean girl.
But is playing to absolute pianistic perfection enough?
Surely in Mozart we know from his operas that his music is full of drama and a whole gambit of emotion that every note should speak and tell a story as Pires and Brendel have taught us over the years.
Is it enough just to play in perfect style never exceeding mezzo forte and with exquisite phrasing ? For this is what Chloe Mun presented to us this evening
.Some really remarkable control and beauty of sound but I in the end was bored to tears. The three pieces from Iberia :Rondena,Almeria and Triana were played with great taste and sense of balance .
Rarely exceeding forte even in the most passionate climaxes.
I know from hearing that other woman pianist Alicia de Larrocha that I come out of her recitals of Spanish music stamping my feet and clicking my heels.
So why was it that there was no reaction from such a numerous audience?
Great admiration for this tiny young girl who played in such a beautifully musical way.
Never being drawn into conflict with trying to please or play down to her audience.
A sign of this was apparent in the round of spontaneous applause that awaited her after the second movement of the Schumann Fantasie where she had shown her quite considerable technical skill and had finally given us a real fortissimo .
The first movement of course was exquisitely controlled but hardly an outpouring of love for Schumann’s beloved Clara.
The last movement too that finishes in a passionate crescendo leading to the final three quiet chords .
Although extremely beautiful I am sure it was not what the composer intended when he dedicated this most passionate work to Liszt who famously sight read it.
I am quite sure with passionate projection and feeling for
his adoring public in mind.
The beautiful Blumenstuck surely the most song like of Schumann’s shorter pieces where every note should have a different word and thus inflection as Horowitz in his famous recording has shown us in our time.
Even in her encore of Schumann’s Widmung arranged by Liszt we were able to admire the extreme beauty of her musicianship but of showmanship there was not a single sign.
This remarkable young lady who coming from a very poor family and against all odds not even possessing a piano ,but practising in the local church,has arrived at a stage of winning two International Piano Competitions .And she is only now 21.
I feel that this should have been the beginning of growing up and having life experiences and having time to listen to as much music and as many different performances as possible instead of being launched into an International career.
It is generally recognised these days as one of the problems with the competition circuit that it is usually the perfect pianist and musician that is chosen quite rightly by an illustrious jury without taking into account that to play the great masterworks to a vast audience you must have something to say which can only come with experience.
Hats off indeed to Paul Lewis who in accepting the direction of the Leeds Competition has announced the other day ,in the Wigmore Hall launch and via a very interesting article in the Guardian, his intention to try to rectify this situation with the intent of helping the enormously talented young artists before them to enjoy a long and satisfying career instead of burning themselves out too soon in an effort to keep up an impossible pace.

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