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PostPosted: Tue Jun 02, 2009 8:30 pm 
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Horowitzian wrote:
I would rather have seen either instead of Zhang.


Agreed. :D

Honestly, IMHO, the jury did better with picking the finalists than the semifinalists, as the finalists seemed to make a good deal more sense. I am really eager to see how the jury ranks them in the end. Is it just me, or does Tsujii get better and better as the competition goes on? He seems more comfortable and is very expressive at the keyboard. I'm watching Vacatello's rehearsal with Prokofiev's 3rd... maybe she's going to be a medalist? She's definitely got a lot of personality. :wink:

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 02, 2009 9:17 pm 
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Agreed. :D

The finalists are a strong group. IMHO Zhang is the weak link because he lacks the musicality of the others.

And yes, I felt Tsujii has gotten better. His preliminary recital seemed a bit nervous, but I loved his semi performances, both his Schumann quintet and his solo recital. I have a feeling that wonderful Hammerklavier was a major factor in his advance to the finals. 8)

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 04, 2009 4:04 pm 
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Wow! That was some impressive playing last night. My dad thinks Bazhanov will probably work his way up in the ranks, and I suspect he's right. 8)

Diminished 2nd (or whatever your real name is...I can't remember :roll: ), during intermission between Vacatello and Bazhanov last night, the webcasters were playing highlights from the semis... and one of the clips, as best I could tell, was you getting an autograph from Kunz. You're famous now! :D

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Though everything else may appear shallow and repulsive, even the smallest task in music is so absorbing, and carries us so far away from town, country, earth, and all worldly things, that it is truly a blessed gift of God.

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 04, 2009 7:57 pm 
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It was! :D Bozhanov's facial theatrics aren't great, but he more than makes up for that with what comes out of his fingers. 8)

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PostPosted: Sun Jun 07, 2009 12:04 am 
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That fool Conlon ruined Tsujii's Rach 2 by speeding up the tempo immediately after the introductory chords. :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil:

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PostPosted: Sun Jun 07, 2009 10:50 pm 
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Well, Di Wu just brought down the house with Rach 3. Now we wait. :D

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 08, 2009 1:11 am 
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Bronze (crystal): Not awarded.

Silver: Yeol Eum Son

Gold: Haochen Zhang and Nobuyuki Tsujii

:shock: :shock: :shock: :shock:

WHAT WERE THEY THINKING!!!!!

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 08, 2009 4:31 pm 
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I agree Horowitzian, that is a pretty poor selection of winners in my opinion if the
criterion is musicianship. However late into the night when I was still fuming over
this, I realized that maybe the criterion was not musicianship, but the ability to play
well with others (during some of the intermission videos was the stated goal of Van Cliburn)
which would make the concerto rounds far more important than the recital rounds.
Wu's Rach 3 was a disaster, traditionalists universally despised both of Bohzanov's concerti,
and many think Vacatello's Prok 3 had serious synchronization issues, whereas the
three winners had pretty consistent (although very boring) concerti.

I so looked forward to this competition and I watched every hour of it online, but now
with this group of winners the Cliburn has completely lost relevance for me. I just don't
care, and I dread the thought that Nobu or Zhang might be coming to Chicago as part of
their touring engagements and I will have to see them as part of my subscription series.

One more thing, if anybody reads this... For a real treat, go to www.cliburn.tv and
watch Evgeni Bohzanov's Finals recital round on June 5. His Davidsbundlertanze was amazing.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 08, 2009 5:10 pm 
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Yowza!!!

The most shocking to me was Zhang. I thought he'd get ranked sixth - even the fact that he got in the finals was a real surprise anyway. But to get a gold medal... :shock: I could see the way more clearly with Tsujii, as he seems to me to be a very musical and sensitive pianist (I thought he'd get the Crystal Award, Vacatello the silver, and Bohzanov the gold). Son only made any sense in the fact that the oldest three competitors did not even seem to be in the picture.

I see here a trend for picking the youngest competitors. Zhang and Tsujii were the two youngest finalists, and, if I'm remembering correctly, Son was the third youngest. During the awards ceremony, I think it was Richard R. who stated that the jury was told, essentially, to pick winners that would be the best ambassadors for the Van Cliburn Foundation. The older finalists would be poor choices, since they have already established reputations of their own apart from the Cliburn Competition. Looked at from that perspective, picking two young men who nobody's heard about until now makes plenty of sense. Son does too when looked at in that way. But, in my humble opinion, that's no way to run a competition. And that philosophy is going to seriously hamper the competition's future.

Now I will get off my soapbox and get after my neglected practice. :roll:

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Though everything else may appear shallow and repulsive, even the smallest task in music is so absorbing, and carries us so far away from town, country, earth, and all worldly things, that it is truly a blessed gift of God.

Felix Mendelssohn


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 08, 2009 7:20 pm 
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Good points, all. No need to add to them. :D

I will say that I enjoyed everything Bozhanov did (I dig that kind of playing, not the facial theater, just the playing; please go easy on me! :lol: ), especially his Franck quintet which certainly deserved the discretionary prize it got.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 08, 2009 8:39 pm 
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Horowitzian wrote:
Good points, all. No need to add to them. :D

I will say that I enjoyed everything Bozhanov did (I dig that kind of playing, not the facial theater, just the playing; please go easy on me! :lol: ), especially his Franck quintet which certainly deserved the discretionary prize it got.


I condemn thee not... :D I can easily see why you like Bohzanov's playing. You'd have to be deaf not to. :wink: I appreciate him as well, although I do perfer the more "traditional" approaches of some of the other finalists. I thought for sure that the judges would recognize his innate musicality and give him the gold. My dad was positive he was "THE" one. And to see the poor fellow given only a passing notice at the awards ceremony was just a bit much.

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Though everything else may appear shallow and repulsive, even the smallest task in music is so absorbing, and carries us so far away from town, country, earth, and all worldly things, that it is truly a blessed gift of God.

Felix Mendelssohn


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 08, 2009 10:14 pm 
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:D

I too thought for sure he was the gold medalist. His innate musicality is simply incredible; I'd hesitate to label him the next Horowitz, but he is just that kind of pianist.

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 13, 2009 10:43 pm 
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Well, I'm finally home and unpacked and everything, and had time to catch up on this thread.

I must say that I disagree with what most of you are saying really. Bozhanov was probably my 2nd favourite after the semis, his frank quintet and schubert sonata were both incredible. But his final round solo recital was sloppy (even the Schumann that somebody else here mentioned)... the last chord of the whole recital (in the exciting, but again, sloppy faust waltz) was a complete splat! I had dinner with one of the competitors from the semis who was eliminated, who said about Bozhanov's Chopin, "I'm really familiar with the Chopin Concerto and love it, but I had never heard the Bozhanov Concerto before..." I think that's going a little far, and I liked it (the concerto). But what he did with the Rach 2 was completely disgusting. I couldn't even hear the orchestra half the time because he was just banging his way through it!

My choices for awards after the finals were:

2 golds:
Haochen Zhang
Yeol Eum Son

2 silvers:
Mariangela Vacatello
Di Wu

I'll explain:

Zhang really didn't have my attention at all (I actually disliked him) until the finals, but his Gaspard was the best we heard the whole time (the control in Le Gibet!), and I don't see how his concerti were "boring". Sure, his Prokofiev was fairly docile next to Son's, but it was exciting enough in my opinion. And to play Mozart on the level he did was really amazing...

Son was one of my favourites after the semis, and didn't disappoint in the finals for me. I thought her solo recital was a little gutsy (if not downright strange) with no... "bombs" :P on it, but it complimented the prok 2nd concerto well I thought. To play something as simple as the Bach-Petri piece she did, and to bring it off so well, would be extremely hard I think.

Vacatello was a little like Zhang for me before the finals. She didn't seem to have a personality at all... but starting with Scarbo (the best of that particular movement of Gaspard that we heard, imo...) and through the Shostakovich p+f in her final round solo recital was awesome. I also loved her Prok 3, even though the last note of the first mvt was at least 2 beats ahead of the orchestra :P

Di Wu, I was really looking forward to in the finals because her Miroirs was SO amazing in the prelims that I assumed her Gaspard would be equally good, but it just didn't do it for me. What DID do it for me was her Rach 3. Who was it here that said it was a disaster?! Could you explain? :shock:

I don't see what ANYBODY here sees in Tsujii. He is really incredible as a blind pianist, but the Cliburn isn't for outstanding blind pianists, it's simply for the best young pianists in the world... Tsujii was clearly not on the same level as the rest of the finalists. For one thing, since he's blind he can't lift his hands more than about an inch or 2 off the keyboard or he would lose his place, but for that reason he can't prepare his hands for the different sounds required most of the time. If only he weren't so darn inspiring... :lol:

My choices for the other awards were:

Best Chamber Performance:
Andrea Lam
Evgeni Bozhanov

Jury Discretionary Award(s):
Eduard Kunz (who I thought by all means should've advanced to the finals over Tsujii or Vacatello, and before I heard the finals, Zhang)
Ran Dank maybe? He seemed REALLY good to me, but I can't put my finger on what I actually liked about him so much (?)
Michail Lifits (his Liszt sonata was incredible apart from the 3 memory slips, which shouldn't happen at this level even if you do hear 3 cell phones ring... STUPID CELL PHONES :evil: )

Best Performance of a New Work:
Michail Lifits
Eduard Kunz (I thought this wasn't probable, just because he had to actually start over after the first 2 notes, and there was the one hesitation when the page turner was late... but I thought the feel for that piece was spot on in his performance more than anybody else who played the Bates. and the snapping fingers in the end was awesome!)

Now... hopefully my message wasn't too long for everybody to wade through haha. And yes, that is me getting Kunz's autograph in the semifinal recap/highlights video! FUNNY STORY ABOUT THAT:

I became facebook friends with him a couple days before that, and when I shook his hand there he was like "facebook friends? Austin, right?" I had NO idea what to say or think! Why would he remember me just from becoming friends on fb?? (I don't remember if I've already told this story here or not... it was so exciting hahaha)

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 15, 2009 8:18 pm 
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Glad that you made it back home safe and sound! You'd better catch up on your practice now. :D

Well, I suppose we shall agree to disagree. :D Honestly, I think part of the reason for the bizarre outcome of the competition was because of the diversity of thought in regards to most competitors. Take Di Wu, for example - some really didn't like her, and others loved her (I fall in the latter group :wink: ). I think this problem affected not just us onlookers, but the judges as well. Many times there's a definite polarization in a competition, but not this time. Opinions were all over the place.

That being said, I didn't get to listen to Bohzanov's Rach 2. I suspect that was a repertoire blooper on his part. :D But I did hear his Chopin's 2nd, and I thought at the time that his rendition would either help or hurt him because of its definite "originality" (to put it mildly). I have the sneaking suspicion that the contrast between Bohzanov's version of the concerto and Tsujii's performance of it a day later was what helped Tsujii get the gold medal. :wink:

Great story about your encounter with Kunz. I wouldn't know what to say either! You must've made a very positive impression on him.

_________________
Though everything else may appear shallow and repulsive, even the smallest task in music is so absorbing, and carries us so far away from town, country, earth, and all worldly things, that it is truly a blessed gift of God.

Felix Mendelssohn


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 16, 2009 5:08 am 
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yeah I loved di wu also for the most part, I just wasn't a HUGE fan of her gaspard...

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