Hungarian pianist Zoltán Fejérvári emerged victorious in this year’s Concours Musical International de Montréal. Italian pianist Giuseppe Guarrera received the second prize, and Stefano Andreatta, also of Italy, finished third. The announcement came after the second of evening of finals on Wednesday, May 10th at the Maison Symphonique de Montréal. The last three finalists took the stage to perform some of the most iconic concertos of the piano repertoire, accompanied by the Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal under Claus Peter Flor.
First up was Yejin Noh of South Korea. Noh seemed nervous in her performance of Tchaikovsky’s Concerto no. 1. The pianist frequently rushed in fast passages. In the first movement, this made her nearly lose control at the cadenza’s climax. In the second movement, her fast runs were very uneven, detracting from the whimsical character she gave them. In the third movement, the orchestra seemed to have trouble following her unstable accelerations. This is not to say her performance was without its stronger moments; the opening of her second movement had an elegant yet simple poetic quality, and she redeemed herself well in her magisterial octaves and electrifying finale. Generally, Noh’s phrasing was both varied and tasteful. However, Guarrera’s brilliant performance of the Tchaikovsky the night before could not have helped her ultimate omission from the winner’s podium.
Jinhyung Park, the evening’s second contestant, also hails from South Korea. Park gave a commanding performance of Rachmaninov’s Concerto no. 2. The pianist’s tone was noteworthy for its orchestral richness, from his deep, smoldering bass in the opening chords to his pearled trebles in the first movement’s long melodic lines. Unfortunately, Park at times marred this sense of line by dying down at the end of phrases to the point of being overwhelmed by the orchestra. Further, Park’s second movement had a lagging quality due to his heavy pedaling and general lack of nuance. However, Park’s beautiful tone served him well in the third movement. Whether staccato chords, quick repeated notes, or the most virtuosic octave passages, none of the work’s technical demands impeded Park’s ability to deliver each note with a singing clarity. More than half the audience rewarded his impressive performance with a standing ovation.
Eventual third prize winner Stefano Andreatta was the last finalist to perform. The Italian pianist gave a masterful account of Liszt’s Concerto no. 2. The audience could truly appreciate the diabolical quality of the music. Andreatta performed the work’s broad opening arpeggios with an aura of mystery, like mist rising on a foggy morning, before proceeding to sweep us up in his commanding virtuosity. In reflective passages, the pianist displayed a remarkable independence of melody and bass and a penchant for improvisatory rolled chords, lending the music a narrative, even rhapsodic quality. In the cello solo, Andreatta judiciously took a back seat and painted a lush, shimmering background. And in the most virtuosic sections, Andreatta delivered every passage with a remarkable evenness, a consistently singing and penetrating tone, and a coolness in command. It came as no surprise that this performance earned him a prize in the top 3.
On Friday, May 12th the CMIM will present a gala event to close the competition. A number of special awards will be given out at an awards ceremony before the concert. Then, at 7:30 pm at the Maison Symphonique, audience members will be treated to concerto performances by Fejérvári and three past winners of the competition: soprano Measha Brueggergosman (2002), pianist Serhiy Salov (2004), and violinist Benjamin Beilman (2010).
Missed the show? Videos of the entire competition are available on the CMIM’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pg/CMIMontreal/videos/
For more info on the 2017 CMIM, check out the competition’s website: https://concoursmontreal.ca/en/
And be sure to take a look at our other articles covering the competition and its events:
- Coverage of the first evening of finals: http://myscena.org/orphee-russell/cmim-2017-first-three-finalists-perform/
- Coverage of the Gabriel Tacchino masterclass (French only): http://myscena.org/fr/anlaurence-higginsgmail-com/gabriel-tacchino-en-classe-de-maitre-dans-le-cadre-du-concours-musical-international-de-montreal/
- Profile on Dang Thai Son: http://myscena.org/arthur-kaptainis/dang-thai-son-finer-things-life/