Electrifying beginning of the 17th Chopin Competition's Grand Finale

The first day of the 17th International Frederic ChopinPiano Competition’s Grand Final In Warsaw has provided many wonderful emotions. There was even a question: if we’ve already heard the winner of the contest?

Seong-Jin Cho Fot. Bartek Sadowski
Seong-Jin Cho Photo Bartek Sadowski

The first pianist was Seong-Jin Cho, of South Korea, who, like the other participants of the first day of the final auditions, performed Frederic Chopin’s Concerto in E minor, Op. 11. He played technically impeccably, easily, as not easy Chopin’s figurations not giving him the slightest difficulty. He manifested naturalness not only in the purely pianistic, but also an artistic way. The narrative of each part has been thoroughly thought out, consistent also with the orchestra, which under the baton of Maestro Jacek Kaspszyk superbly accompanied the soloist. The classical approach to the work of Frederic Chopin, without excessive pathos and sentimentality also liked the audience. Seong-Jin Cho’s interpretation, not only because of his integrity, could surely be recorded on the disc.

Aljoša Jurinić Fot. Bartek Sadowski
Aljoša Jurinić Photo Bartek Sadowski

Aljoša Jurinić from Croatia, who a little unexpectedly passed to the final stage, was not surprised, unfortunately. His interpretation of Frederic Chopin’s Concerto in E minor was constructed on the same principle, to which he accustomed the audience and the Jury in the previous stages. Instead of building a greater phrase, creating work’s drama he played arranging the various sections of the Concerto, in which he stressed too abruptly written accents. As a result, he created moments sounding interesting, but for the most interpretation overly folkloric and caricature. It was not easy for the orchestra, but led by Maestro Jacek Kaspszyk coped with this demanding accompaniment brilliantly.

Aimi Kobayashi Fot. Wojciech Grzędziński
Aimi Kobayashi Photo Wojciech Grzędziński

After a break on the stage of Warsaw Philharmonic Concert Hall appeared two pianists: Japanese Aimi Kobayashi and American Kate Liu. From the first theme of the 1st movement of the Concerto in E minor, Op. 11 it was felt that this piece is player by a woman. Warm sound in the dynamics of the piano - pianissimo and a little more bold rubato, than in the interpretation of Korean, introduced the audience in a truly romantic mood. It could be felt especially in the famous Romanza, written for Maria Wodzińska. Figurations were not so light and natural as these performed by Seong-Jin Cho, but the interpretation of Aimi Kobayashi made good impression and pianist was awarded with applause even before the last chords of the orchestra.

Kate Liu i Maestro Jacek Kasprzyk Fot. Wojciech Grzędziński

Kate Liu and Maestro Jacek Kaspszyk

Photo Wojciech Grzędziński

The temperature in the hall almost reached its zenith when on stage, in a beautiful white dress, perfectly corresponding to the diminutive figure of the artist, appeared Kate Liu. This phenomenal very young American, born in Singapore, has incredible independence of hands, that also perfectly showed performing Concerto in E minor, Op. 11. She ran right hand in a completely unique narrative, with the accompaniment of left hand perfectly controlled by ear to the smallest detail. Romanza in her performance sounded extremely mysterious. In the 1st and the 3rd part she played the figurations with extreme ease and finesse, and her extremely brillant coda broke off the audience from their seats and for the first time during the Contest the final performance of Kate Liu was awarded, quite deservedly, a standing ovation. Which of the participants during next auditions will attract the audience? Everything will turn out soon.

Marta Polanska


Review in Korean language translated by Ellie Haeju Noh