PRESS

Review: Chorale Fantasy NY premiere , March 13, 2013

조회 수 19345 추천 수 0 2013.09.11 12:30:22

Hyojung Huh CD in Review

Hyojung Huh, piano
Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, New York, N.Y.
March 13, 2013
 
Hyojung Huh ,Pianist

Hyojung Huh ,Pianist

 
 

Korean pianist Hyojung Huh gave a debut in New York this Spring that introduced not only herself as a performer, but also, in the second half, the ten-movement, forty-five-minute Chorale Fantasy of contemporary Korean composer, Shinuh Lee, entitled “Comfort, comfort my people.”  While I missed the concert itself, I was assigned to review an unedited CD of it and found much to admire. While CD recordings almost inevitably miss the energy of a live performance itself, they do enable the multiple hearings one usually needs with new works.

Ms. Huh holds an impressive array of degrees as a pianist, including B.M. and M.M. from Seoul National University, M.M. from Westminster Choir College, and P.D. (Performer Diploma) from Indiana University-Bloomington, in addition to an imminent D.M.A. from the University of Wisconsin where she is a doctoral candidate; in addition, though, Ms. Huh has earned degrees in aesthetics, sacred music, and choral conducting, all of which seem to make her a natural fit for the New York Premiere of Ms. Lee’s imposing,  Biblically-inspired Chorale Fantasy.  Drawn by musical and theological interests (having already done Masters studies on Messiaen in relation to Catholic ontology, liturgy and Biblical language), Ms. Huh is currently working on a dissertation offering a metaphysical and theological perspective on the Shinuh Lee composition performed in this recital, a work which does bear some kinship with works of Messiaen himself.  So, rarely will one see a confluence of such well-matched forces – the pianist, the composer, and the central inspiration of the work all in perfect synch.

Hyojung Huh ,Pianist

Hyojung Huh ,Pianist

In laic terms, the work is an intensely dramatic one, alternating evocations of fire and brimstone with those of ethereal peace, created brilliantly by Ms. Lee and conveyed sympathetically and passionately by Ms. Huh. The first movement is entitled “A brimful living chalice of despair and horror and astonishment.” The movement lived up to its title. Vivid in its thunderous and dissonant virtuoso writing, it alternated bass chants against smoldering trills and tremolos with nightmarishly unrelenting rhythms that were sometimes reminiscent of Ligeti’s “L’escalier du diable” to this listener. Comparisons are for expedience – not to suggest that the work is derivative – so I’ll also be forgiven for comparing some of Ms. Lee’s stomping martial accompaniments to Prokofiev’s “Montagues and Capulets” in their savagery. The overall effect was harrowing.

Sheer terror yielded wonderfully in the second movement to a feeling of post-apocalyptic quiet. Entitled “Lord Have Mercy”, this prayerfully simple A-flat major Chorale (towards the end reappearing in A major) developed over a pulsating pedal point into a Brahmsian meditation that might make a jaded listener flinch at such sweetness, were it not in juxtaposition to the ferocious first movement.  Ms. Huh also gave it a pacing which prevented any feeling of glibness. Limitless emotional range, here and in the rest of the work, was matched by an arsenal of several centuries of musical techniques and styles, from early chant, to Bach, through the moderns (even hints of Einojuhani Rautavaara), all integrated organically. The work is quite a journey, and Ms. Huh was up to the task of guiding us through it – performing from memory, no less! Undoubtedly she will bring this work to many venues. Some choices in text will be challenging and controversial to many – and they frankly could prevent widespread acceptance of it – but the music itself could be imagined to depict numerous stirring but more widely applicable Bible verses, should changes be made at some point. Universal acceptance, however, does not appear to be the goal here.

Remaining open-minded about new music can be one of the big challenges in reviewing, but the same applies to new interpretations of “old” music, which one also encountered in this recital. Ms. Huh’s first half, consisting of the oft-heard “Jeux D’eau” of Ravel and ubiquitous Symphonic Etudes of Schumann, was unconventionally played. Jeux d’eau (translated sometimes as “Fountains” or “Playings of Water”) was not the sort of sweeping, watery interpretation to which I’m accustomed.  My first reaction was that it needed more flow, flexibility, and the qualities that one associates with water; instead, this performance struck one as a bit stolid, on the slow side, and rather careful; on rethinking it, however, Ms. Huh’s was an interpretation that may have simply been focused more on the individual droplets, each in imagined crystalline perfection. Having not heard the concert live, but catching the tonal beauty of individual notes nonetheless, I’m inclined to give the performer the benefit of the doubt!

Schumann’s Symphonic Etudes similarly seemed overly cautious.  In this case, due to some weak spots where tempi fluctuated and some messiness ensued, one imagines that there is simply a need to live with the piece longer. The additional Posthumous Etudes (Nos. II and V) were much appreciated, as they are often omitted, but suffice it to say that the Shinuh Lee work will be what is best remembered of this recital.  That is no small achievement.

-Rorianne Schrade for New York Concert Review; New York, NY

List of Articles
번호 제목 글쓴이 날짜 조회 수
17 서랍속에 방치되지 않을 창작곡/조은아 S.L. 2016-12-17 8565
16 Review: Lament, O, the daughter of Zion. Aug. 9, 2015 Philadelphia S.L. 2015-12-26 11708
15 <공연리뷰> 소피아 구바이둘리나 특별콘서트, '현대인의 영혼 일깨우는 이 시대의 음악', 연합뉴스 S.L. 2014-06-09 30535
» Review: Chorale Fantasy NY premiere , March 13, 2013 S.L. 2013-09-11 19345
13 악마의 유혹에 이끌린 빛의 음악 / 서울대학신문 2009.9 유혜림 2012-10-06 20509
12 한국일보 2009. 8.15 유혜림 2012-09-04 19817
11 (낭만음악 2009년 봄호) 작곡가 이신우를 지켜본다 - 이건용 유혜림 2012-09-04 20985
10 중앙일보 2001. 2 file 유혜림 2012-09-03 19478
9 중앙일보 1999 & 2000 file 유혜림 2012-09-03 19710
8 기독공보 데스크 대담 기사 file 유혜림 2012-09-03 19784
7 한국일보 안익태 작곡상 관련 file 유혜림 2012-09-03 19807
6 한국일보 1998. 4 file 유혜림 2012-09-03 21094
5 한국일보 안익태 작곡상 관련 file 유혜림 2012-09-03 20810
4 한국일보 안익태 작곡상 관련 file 유혜림 2012-09-03 19141
3 한국일보 Japan Forum 1991 file 유혜림 2012-09-03 19829
2 세계일보 1992 file 유혜림 2012-09-03 19418
1 Interview 월간주니어 1991 file 유혜림 2012-09-03 20200