Photo by : Pierluigi Marchesan
The brilliant young Italian, Alessandro Taverna from Caorle(just North-East of Venice) is coming to Sunderland for the very first time. He left his High School with a Diploma in Science with Honours and he joined the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Padua. This was before he discovered his life-long love of the piano and its music.
He is a serious-minded young man who continues to learn and to be taught by selected experts, continuing as late as 2009. Perfection is his aim. He has won many important prizes in prestigious Piano Competitions around the world over the past ten years. He teaches piano at his old “alma mater” the Foundation of St.Cecilia at Portogruaro. He has played concertos and given solo recitals all around Europe and has been specially chosen by prestigious musical organisations to give concert series in Japan, Canada and the United States. He has played for Italian and Slovenian Radio and Television, and music critics around the world have written with great enthusiasm about the wonders of his performances. He will enjoy playing the famously unique Steinway Concert Grand at Sunderland in a fascinating programme of Beethoven, Chopin, Rachmaninoff, Rossini (arranged Liszt) and Stravinsky. Something special to look forward to!!
Jong-Gyung Park is the first Korean pianist ever to perform at the Sunderland Pianoforte Society in its sixty eight distinguished years of promoting professional recitals of a very high standard. This young lady from the orient maintained the world class standards that we are used to from the Society.
The concert consisted of three major works: one each by Schubert, Ravel and Chopin in his tribute year. The Schubert work was the lovely Sonata in A major D.664 (sometimes called Op.120). This had all the delicacy and drama that was needed, with some particularly exciting “octave” work in both hands. The textures were beautifully clear and the finger dexterity was brilliant but never obstrusive and often with the lightest and crispest of touches. Ms Park convinced everyone in the audience that this was major Schubert and certainly not heard often enough. Quite lovely.
The Ravel suite was the quite famous “Gaspard de la Nuit” (Demons of the Night).
“Ondine”, the water nymph was beautifully captured with those shimmering harmonies and constantly syncopated broken tremulando chords with their watery sounds of her lake dwelling. The piece really did build to a colossal climax and clearly demonstrated Ms. Park’s tremendous technical ability and huge interpretive powers. “Le Gibet” with its constantly tolling octave note, giving us a picture of a corpse hanging on a gallows at the crossroads at sunset surrounded by predatory insect life, maintained its own special interest with the shifting harmonies clear and the mood achieved to perfection. A very difficult piece to interpret and here beautifully presented. Then “Scarbo” that evil ugly elf of the night, who comes into your bedroom and scrapes his long ugly nails along the curtains, was captured with ultimate skill. This is a virtuoso challenge in its own right and here Jong-Gyung Park demonstrated a truly polished artistry and sympathetic appreciation of the composer’s score. We really did feel that Scarbo vanished suddenly in a trick of the moonlight!
The Chopin collection was the complete edition of all 24 of the Op.28 Preludes.
With the varying keys, tempi and characters of these two dozen pieces, the challenge is a constant one throughout the work. This was a distinguished tribute to the great Pole on his 200th.anniversary. A magnificent achievement from a performer who clearly has a special affection for the marvellous (and sometimes surprising) writing of one of the most original minds to have penned music for the piano in the history of the keyboard.
A wonderful recital. No better tribute can be paid to an artist than for members of the large audience to ask her to return to Sunderland.