Sunday, 27 January 2013

Live Review: Kyung and Michael Kim (December 9th 2012)

Baroque and Beyond: The Evolution of Romanticism
Virtuosi Concerts
Eckhardt-Grammaté Hall
December 9th 2012

On December 9th, Virtuosi Concerts welcomed pianists Kyung and Michael Kim to their stage. Together with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra Chamber Players, the couple treated audience members to a charming ‘potpourri’ of romantic music. Michael Kim served as emcee, and his thoughtful comments on each of the offerings proved to be entertaining and educational, particularly for the many young concert patrons in attendance.

Virtuosi Artistic Director Harry Strub introduced the event, noting that the performance was taking place during the holiday season, and the event had an ambiance appropriately filled with festive cheer. Many of the chosen pieces by Schumann, Rachmaninov and Mendelssohn seemed inspired by hopefulness and love.

The afternoon began with Kyung Kim’s solo rendition of Haydn’s Sonata in C minor, Hob. XVI/20, a lively piece that set the tone for the remainder of the concert. The Chamber Players then joined Michael Kim on stage to perform Bach’s Concerto for Keyboard and Strings in F minor, which featured a gorgeous pizzicato interlude from the WSO violins. The Chamber Players accompanied the Kims throughout the concert, and their rendition of the second movement of Chopin’s Piano Concert No. 1 in E. minor, Op. 11 with Michael Kim was particularly outstanding.

Both pianists were able to demonstrate their unique talents during the program. Kyung Kim offered a pure and flawless interpretation of a selection from Mendelssohn’s Song Without Words: Op. 19, No. 1 in E major. Michael Kim’s solo performance of Liszt’s Paraphrase de concert sur Rigoletto was similarly superb.

As a finale, the Kims performed Rossini’s Overture to Barber of Seville, with four hands, on the piano. The piece, well-known from the Bugs Bunny cartoon Rabbit of Seville, was a crowd-pleaser, and made for a joyous finale to a lovely afternoon of music imbued with humour, happiness and romance.

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