So, on Friday night I saw Evgeni Bozhanov, one of my favourites from the Cliburn last year. He played the Chopin 3rd ballade and 3rd sonata, Liszt Faust Waltz, Takemitsu Rain Tree Sketch he played in the finals last summer, and the Schubert D. 960 sonata. No encores... I really went to hear the Schubert, as his performance of that last summer was probably (and I don't just say this on a whim) the best performance of any piece I have ever heard live. As I expected (and was looking forward to), everything in all of the pieces was completely different from the Cliburn. The Chopin I liked even better, really. The Scherzo had so many different sounds, the 3rd movement was just beautiful, and the finale was extremely exciting! He's the kind of artist (like Horowitz, almost) who has this enormous arsenal of colours and ways to create different sounds, and he chooses on the spot what he's going to do with each phrase. It is so exciting to hear live, and the variation in tone colour is something that recordings cannot capture at ALL (I still listen to the recording of the schubert from last summer. in fact, I won't listen to any other recordings of that piece... but I had almost forgotten how different yet he sounds in real life). He did have a (very, very) small memory problem in the second movement of the Schubert which you could tell he never quite recovered from for the remainder of the performance. And you could tell he wasn't very happy with it after the fact... but everyone in the audience clearly was!
Then today I heard Yeol Eum Son (silver medalist) this afternoon. She played Schumann's Davidsbundlertanze, the 15th Hungarian Rhapsody, a Scarlatti sonata (B minor. K. 87 I believe...), a Franck Theme, Fugue and Variation, and also the Chopin 3rd sonata. And I must say I was disappointed... She seemed very different than she did before (which is to be expected since she is playing a completely different kind of repertoire, apart from the liszt). She sounds basically like everyone else to me. The only thing that sets her apart is she has one higher gear that she can shift into when it comes to technical facility. For this reason I think she should stick to things like the Liszt (which was amazing), and other pieces like the Barber sonata, Gaspard, etc... In the Schumann set and the Chopin sonata, the line was broken up or the ideas seemed really disjointed too often. Oh well...
I didn't get any pictures either time
but... all this to say I think everyone here should go to cliburn.tv and give evgeni's performances (all of them...) a listen. It's worth it!