Just twenty years old, the Korean pianist Jinhyung Park was the youngest finalist in the 2016 Prague Spring International Music Competition, but he triumphed against a field of competitors of the highest order. He is returning to the stage of Dvořák Hall in the Rudolfinum with varied repertoire consisting of works by composers who gave piano music a position of importance among their works.
The Sonata in A major D 664 by Franz Schubert (1797–1828) was probably composed during the summer of 1819 while Schubert was staying in Steyr, Austria. The work is somewhat atypical for its time in that it contains just three movements. The opening Allegro moderato pays tribute to Schubert’s great model – Ludwig van Beethoven. Schubert quotes the Allegro from Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7 in A major Op. 92, or more precisely, its rhythmic component. The middle movement miraculously develops a simple rhythmic motif, and its melancholy contrasts beautifully with the playfulness of the final Allegro.
Czech music is represented on the programme by Bohuslav Martinů (1890–1959) and Adam Skoumal (*1969). Martinů’s Loutky I (Puppets I) are undoubtedly among the composer’s best known works for piano solo. They bear poetic titles like Columbine Dances, Fairy Tale, and The Shy Puppet, and they delight audiences to this day with their inventive melodiousness. Nová loutka (The New Puppet) is a charming example of Martinů’s enchanting use of ragtime. For Park, Kejklíř (The Jongleur) by the contemporary Czech composer Adam Skoumal will certainly be a pleasant reminder of last year’s Prague Spring competition, for which the work was composed.
Images I by Claude Debussy (1861–1918) will undoubtedly make an impression. In them – like in his other piano cycles – Debussy makes perfect use of his limitless imagination, sense of poetry, and humor, with which the individual, colorful sections of this work are permeated. The young pianist’s technical skills will be tested by the Tarantella from Venezia e Napoli by Franz Liszt (1811–1886) and the enormous Sonata in B flat minor Op. 36 by Sergei Rachmaninoff (1871–1843), which will bring the entire evening to a close.
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