The Cliburn Report 4: Morning Mood

Beatrice Rana

[I will be covering the final round of the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition in June. Meanwhile I’m picking the best of the current press coverage for you dining and dancing pleasure.]

If you missed the first day of the Cliburn’s seven-day marathon of preliminary round recitals, never fear; the Fort Worth Star-Telegram has a huge photo gallery of the contestants in action, along with an article by Tim Madigan describing some contestant and audience reactions to opening day. Mr. Madigan isn’t doing any handicapping yet, but he did describe 20-year-old Italian pianist Beatrice Rana’s recital as “a highlight of the first day, particularly her exquisite sonata composed by Muzio Clementi…The piece featured slow, pianissimo passages requiring a delicate touch, interspersed with fast music that allowed Rana to showcase her speed and dexterity at the keyboard.”

Nikita Mndoyants

Scott Cantrell of the Dallas Morning News, on the other hand, is doing mini-reviews of each recital. His Friday report is less enthusiastic about Ms. Rana than Mr. Madigan’s (although it’s still mostly positive). His praise of Russia’s Nikita Mndoyants and Italy’s Luca Buratto mostly mirror my own impressions from the webcast (although I’m less bothered by Mr. Buratto’s presentation eccentricities than he is). His blog coverage of this morning’s concert singles out Taiwan’s Kuan-Ting Lin as “one of the most impressive performers so far, sensitive to melodic shape and harmonic nuance,” although he also has praise for the Ukranian Oleksandr Poliykov.

My fellow Music Critics Assocaition of North America member Gregory Isaacs is also doing wall-to-wall Cliburn coverage at the TheaterJones site. The link will be updated as he adds more reviews, so it’s worth a bookmark.

Finally, those of you wishing to escape the hype around the Cliburn (and competitions in general) might want to check out Brad Hill’s curmudgeonly (but thought provoking) article at Huffington Post. You may or may not agree with all of it, but I think you’ll have to admit he makes some telling points.

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