Friday, March 8, 2024,  8 pm
at Jordan Hall, Boston


Presenting 

Minsoo Sohn, piano
 


"


photo credit: Shin-Joong Kim







 




 







 

 



I dedicate this recital in memory of
a true hero, my captain - Russell Sherman.
Minsoo Sohn


~
Program ~

Franz Liszt
(1811-1886)
Consolations, S.172
Consolation No. 1 in E major:  Andante con moto
Consolation No. 2 in E major:  Un poco più mosso
Consolation No. 3 in D-flat major:  lento placido
Consolation No. 4 in E major:  Quasi Adagio
Consolation No. 5 in E major:  Andantino
Consolation No. 6:  Allegretto sempre cantabile

~ intermission ~

Franz Liszt (1811-1886)
Transcendental Études, S.139
Etude No. 1 in C Major, "Prelude"
Etude No. 2 in A Minor
Etude No. 3 in F Major, "Paysage" (Landscape)
Etude No. 4 in D Minor, "Mazeppa"
Etude No. 5 in B-flat Major, "Feux follets" (Will-o’-the-wisps)
Etude No. 6 in G Minor, "Vision"
Etude No. 7 in E-flat Major, "Eroica"
Etude No. 8 in C Minor, "Wilde Jagd" (Wild hunt)
Etude No. 9 in A-flat Major, "Ricordanza" (Remembrance)
Etude No. 10 in F Minor
Etude No. 11 in D-flat Major, "Harmonies du soir" (Evening harmonies)
Etude No. 12 in B-flat Minor, "Chasse-neige" (Blizzard)


 


Minsoo Sohn gave stunning accounts of Liszt’s Consolations and Transcendental at Jordan Hall on Friday. Minsoo’s mastery is evident, his playing nuanced, his dynamic control exquisite, his shaping of phrases clear, the use of rubato thoughtful. Wha Kyang Byun, brilliant pianist and instructor, was Minsoo’s teacher for 12 years at NEC. She described (Liszt’s Transcendental) etudes as Mount Everest. Playing all of them at once is a Herculean effort, requiring not only physical endurance, but the mental challenge of keeping one’s concentration for one hour and five minutes of brutally difficult repertoire. The late Russell Sherman, to whose remembrance this recital was dedicated, was married to Wha Kyung Byun and his 1976 recording of these etudes is just amazing, and obviously influenced Minsoo’s performance. And just as Russell Sherman passed the baton of the Liszt etudes to Minsoo, so Minsoo passed it to his pupil Yunchan (Lim), who recorded the etudes live in Ft. Worth in 2022. -Boston Musical Intelligencer
 



photos: Chung Cheng



photos: Chutze Chou


event photos: Xiaopei Xu and Chi Wei Lo

 

Minsoo Sohn, piano
https://minsoosohn.com/

"A genuine artist, with a thoughtfully conceived and poetic interpretation." – New York Times
Sohn plays with a thrilling, personal, hall-filling sound that is also flexible, voca
l, and immediate; he was born to play the piano. One can feel absolutely certain that Sohn is an artist, a man who will create life in music, find listeners, and reward them. – Boston Globe
Mr. Sohn illuminated here with a thoughtfully conceived and poetic interpretation, enhanced by tasteful ornamentation. Mr. Sohn’s crisp articulation rendered the fast, virtuosic numbers a delight, and he imbued the slower sections with an appealing intimacy. –
New York Times
Sohn tosses off the fearsome technical challenges without breaking stride while at the same time elegantly colouring each mood. –
Toronto star
These were deeply considered, tightly knit performances in which every bar seamlessly followed another and also filled its right place in the whole. It is virtually impossible to pick his interpretations apart, point to details, it all seemed consequent and inevitable…His performance stood out for its steady pace and progression, its splendid clarity and consistency of tone, and the elegance of the melodic lines. Playing a modern instrument in the same way he played the Webern and the Brahms, he was able, as I mentioned above, to do justice to modern technique and the Baroque origins of the music. Sohn’s approach was so free from mannerisms and so well integrated. In its rigor, elegance, and integrity, Minsoo Sohn’s interpretation is the most satisfying I have heard in recent years. –
New York Arts


Minsoo Sohn is a Korean American pianist known for his musical intelligence and masterful virtuosity. Described by the New York Times as "a genuine artist, with a thoughtful and poetic interpretation" and the Boston Globe as "born to play the piano," Sohn continues to expand his reputation as one of the foremost pianists of his day. Sohn has toured extensively throughout North and South America, Europe, Israel and Korea and has appeared in important venues and festivals.

Sohn is particularly noted for his interpretation of Bach’s Goldberg Variations, and the New York Times praised his Honens-label recording of the work as a "beautifully articulated, radiant interpretation," placing it one of the top classical recordings of 2011. His recordings also received critical acclaim by New Yorker Magazine, Plain Dealer, Gramophone, Calgary Herald and Toronto Star among others.

In 2020, coinciding with the 250th anniversary of Beethoven’s birth, Mr. Sohn concluded his four year immersion in the composer’s music, which has included concert series, recordings and writings. Over the course of his Beethoven project, Mr. Sohn performed and recorded the composer’s thirty-two sonatas in series of recitals at Seoul Arts Center and recording sessions at Tongyeong Concert Hall. The recital series also included Beethoven’s monumental Diabelli Variations and Bagatelles. The Sony Classical released the highly anticipated nine-album set of "Complete Beethoven Piano Sonatas" in the Fall of 2020.

He held positions at Michigan State University and Korean National University of Arts before joining his alma mater, New England Conservatory, in Fall 2023.
He is indebted to Russell Sherman and Wha Kyung Byun for guiding him to follow his bliss.


NOTES ON THE PROGRAM
by Dr. Jannie Burdeti

Franz Liszt (1811-1886)
Consolations, S.172
Consolation No. 1 in E major:  Andante con moto
Consolation No. 2 in E major:  Un poco più mosso
Consolation No. 3 in D-flat major:  lento placido
Consolation No. 4 in E major:  Quasi Adagio
Consolation No. 5 in E major:  Andantino
Consolation No. 6:  Allegretto sempre cantabile

"Franz Liszt carried a walking stick with the faces of St. Francis of Assisi, Faust’s Gretchen, and Mephistopheles carved on it. Apparently he longed for the Divine, craved women and worldly pleasures, and was fascinated by the diabolical." -Vladimir Feltsman

Franz Liszt lived a full life, to say the least. As an unrivaled virtuoso, he achieved rock star status, popularized the solo recital, and pushed the limits of piano playing to unimaginable heights. He was also a philanthropist, taught free lessons to thousands of students, and fulfilled his lifelong desire of living a religious life (having first expressed his desire to attend seminary at the age of seventeen) late in life, as an abbé in the Catholic Church. While this seemingly stark dichotomy is certainly a gross generalization of his multifaceted life, it was in the midst of the transition from one to the other, that he composed between 1849 and 1850 his Consolations, also known as Six pensées poétiques or Six Poetic Thoughts. The first version of these pieces were written between 1844 and 1849.

In 1847, at the age of 36, Liszt retired from the concert stage at the peak of his pianistic powers to dedicate his energies to composing. The following year, he took up a full-time position as Kappellmeister in Weimar. Then, in 1849, his respected colleague Frédéric Chopin died, and Liszt became very involved in his legacy and compositions, to the extent of preparing a lengthy biographical text on his life. His humble, yet deeply intimate Consolations reflect his preoccupations of the time, and Chopin’s influence can be heard as a backdrop in Liszt’s writing.

Scholars have also suggested that these pieces may have been inspired by either Charles Sainte-Beuve’s collection of poems with the same name or Alphonse de Lamartine’s poem, Une larme, ou Consolation. While E major pervades the set, a key that Liszt often reserved for his religious pieces, he self-effacingly wrote to his publisher describing the Consolations as "six fantasy pieces [that] can provide consolation for those benevolent pianists who have tortured themselves with their other pieces."

Consolation No. 1 in E major, Andante con moto

Lasting only twenty-five measures and less than one-and-a-half minutes, this first Consolation paints a meditative, opening scene. It is written in a string-quartet texture, and according to records from Liszt’s master classes, should proceed to the second piece without a break. 

Consolation No. 2 in E major, Un poco più mosso

The pace picks up with a gentle melody that floats over an undulating left-hand figuration. After a short interlude, the melody returns but displaced in register, as is so common in Liszt’s music.

Consolation No. 3 in D-flat major, Lento placido

The most Chopinesque in this set and certainly the most often performed, the third Consolation resembles Chopin’s Nocturne Op. 27, No. 2, in both key and texture. Its mesmerizing three-part texture includes a low resonating bass, a melancholic melody, and an arpeggiated accompaniment in the middle.

Consolation No. 4 in D-flat major, Quasi adagio

In some editions, this fourth Consolation is printed with a "guiding star." The melody in this piece, in addition to the next, is taken from a song by the grand duchess Maria Pavlovna of Save-Weimar-Eisenach. She was the sister of Tsar Nicholas I of Russia, as well as Liszt’s patron and pupil. In the same key as the preceding Consolation, this work is hymn-like, with a yearning melody.

Consolation No. 5 in E major, Andantino

The first version of this piece dates back to 1844 and was originally titled "Madrigal,’ with the inscription, "nessun maggior" from Dante’s Divine Comedy. It refers to Dante’s quote, "There is no greater sorrow than to recall in misery the time when we were happy." Returning to the key of E major, it opens with a solo line and is marked, con grazia, or "with grace."

Consolation No. 6, Allegretto sempre cantabile

To end the set, Liszt writes his longest and most technically involved piece, complete with a short cadenza. An impassioned, rhetorical melody is heard in the middle of harp-like chords. The whole piece builds continuously in intensity until a climax is reached; a quiet, consoling coda ensues.
 

Franz Liszt (1811-1886)
Transcendental Études, S.139
Etude No. 1 in C Major, "Prelude"
Etude No. 2 in A Minor
Etude No. 3 in F Major, "Paysage" (Landscape)
Etude No. 4 in D Minor, "Mazeppa"
Etude No. 5 in B-flat Major, "Feux follets" (Will-o’-the-wisps)
Etude No. 6 in G Minor, "Vision"
Etude No. 7 in E-flat Major, "Eroica"
Etude No. 8 in C Minor, "Wilde Jagd" (Wild hunt)
Etude No. 9 in A-flat Major, "Ricordanza" (Remembrance)
Etude No. 10 in F Minor
Etude No. 11 in D-flat Major, "Harmonies du soir" (Evening harmonies)
Etude No. 12 in B-flat Minor, "Chasse-neige" (Blizzard)


"Bach is the alpha and Liszt is the omega of piano playing." —Ferruccio Busoni

To perform all of Franz Liszt’s Etudes d’execution transcendante (literally "Studies of transcendent execution") is to ascend one of the loftiest Himalayan summits for pianists. The Oxford English Dictionary defines the word transcendental as "going beyond the usual limits of human knowledge, experience or reason." Perhaps more than any of his predecessors, with the genre of the "etude" or "study," Liszt revolutionized piano technique to the point that it verged on the superhuman, the supernatural, and the transcendental. The Transcendental Etudes are transcendental not only in their technical demands: as the title implies, the works also achieve this distinction by way of their symphonic scope and emotional intensity. And perhaps the true virtuoso transcends the technical difficulties to bring the listener to the realms beyond the physical—indeed, several titles refer to otherworldly perceptions.

Wrought out over thirty years, these etudes were most likely originally inspired by Liszt’s teacher, Carl Czerny. When Liszt was ten, Czerny accepted him as a pupil. Czerny was not only a former student of Beethoven but also a successful pedagogue and prolific composer of etudes. In 1826, at fifteen, Liszt composed his first large-scale work, Etudes for the Piano in Forty-Eight Exercises, Op. 6 (of which twelve were completed). There were two subsequent versions of these pieces—a revision in 1838 and another in 1852. Liszt dedicated the first and last sets to Czerny.

A major turning point in Liszts life was attending a concert by the famous violinist Niccolò Paganini in 1832. The impact of this concert on Liszt’s life was profound. He wrote in a letter to a friend, "For a whole fortnight my mind and my fingers have been working like two lost souls. Homer, the Bible, Plato, Locke, Byron, Hugo, Lamartine, Chateaubriand, Beethoven, Bach, Hummel, Mozart, Weber are all around me. I study them, meditate on them, devour them with fury; besides this, I practice four to five hours of exercises (thirds, sixths, octaves, tremolos, repetition of notes, cadenzas, etc.). Ah! provided I dont go mad you will find in me an artist! . . . Your friend, though insignificant and poor, cannot leave off repeating those words of the great man ever since Paganinis last performance." His fire of ambition to become the Paganini of the piano had been lit.

A few years later, at the age of twenty-six, in 1837, he rewrote his youthful etudes and infused into the twelve pieces his new level of virtuosity, bringing them to the edge of playability and, according to Rosen, "stretching what the human hands can be made to do." Schumann, in a review, wrote, "These are veritable studies of tempests and terrors, studies for at most ten or twelve people in the whole world." Liszt published them as the Twelve Great Studies for the Piano. (He planned on doing twenty-four, which the original titled reflected, but his plans never materialized). Eleven out of the twelve etudes were directly based on the earlier versions, with the twelfth etude based on his Impromptu on Themes of Rossini and Sontini, Op. 3, also a much earlier work. The transformation from the previous set was tremendous, and Liszt’s personality shines through each one.

Rosen points out that while the first and second versions share a lot in common, such as "harmonic structure, basic melodic line and rhythmic organization, . . . Liszt was able to . . . transform an uninteresting students effort into a radical work of originality." Much of the transformation is due to Liszt’s use of sonority and his "imaginative reconnection of the sound." He created a final version of the etudes in 1851, essentially removing unnecessary hardships and making them more suitable to play, while retaining their transcendental virtuosity. Russell Sherman once commented on this set, "There is a health and vitality in the way he ropes together the public rhetoric, the inner working of the musical form, the erotic impulse and the feeling of generosity and religiosity."

Etude No. 1 in C Major, "Prelude"

Pianist Kirill Gerstein writes that this first etude, titled "Prelude," is "a virtuosic trying-out of the piano." Lasting less than a minute, the piece dashes back and forth on the keyboard with arpeggios, chords, trills—all the different exercises Liszt likely practiced as a budding virtuoso.

Etude No. 2 in A Minor

Busoni referred to this etude as "Fusées" or "Rockets." The main theme is a repeated-note figure, made capricious by its quick alternation between hands and daring leaps. Perhaps more than any of the other etudes, this one brings Paganini’s violinistic pyrotechnics to mind.

Etude No. 3 in F Major, "Paysage" (Landscape)

A contemplative depiction of how it might feel to view a vast landscape, this etude is in the same key as Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphony. Liszt creates layers of singing lines—at times with only a single hand, at others with both. This piece offers a welcome respite between the intense passion before and after.

Etude No. 4 in D Minor, "Mazeppa"

In Ukraine, Ivan Mazepa, a seventeenth-century military leader, inspired an entire genre of artistic, literary, and musical works. The story goes that Mazepa, as punishment, was tied naked to a wild horse. Liszt, in his etude, bases the story line on Victor Hugo’s poem about the event. In Hugo’s retelling of the legend, Liszt specialist Leslie Howard writes, "a Polish page [is] bound to a wild horse which released him only when, having galloped to Ukraine, it died from exhaustion." Liszt later also composed a symphonic poem with the same name.

One of Liszt’s most innovative contributions to piano technique in this work is his choice of fingering for the accompanimental pattern in thirds. He uses, in fast succession, fingers two and four to imitate the sounds of the galloping horse. The various thematic transformations that this piece goes through showcase Liszt’s different compositional and pianistic techniques.

Etude No. 5 in B-flat Major, "Feux follets" (Will-o’-the-wisps)

The title refers to the flickering, mystical lights that travelers can see at dusk above stagnant bodies of water, which legend attributes to spirits or ghosts. Looking beyond the notoriously difficult technical aspect of this piece, one can see how Liszt brilliantly depicts this otherworldly phenomenon through his iridescent figurations and chromaticism.

Etude No. 6 in G Minor, "Vision"

Here, Liszt creates a dark and foreboding vision. Overtones of the Dies irae theme are heard in the right hand. The arpeggiated chorale grows and intensifies in ecstasy. The tremolos and swells that appear near the conclusion bring to mind the music of Wagner and Bruckner, and perhaps even foreshadow some of the ecstatic writings of Scriabin.

Etude No. 7 in E-flat Major, "Eroica"

Sharing the same name and key with Beethoven’s Eroica Symphony, this work is a heroic march. However, before the main theme appears, the piece opens with a blazing cadenza-like introduction. The march builds into thundering, double octaves at its climax.

Etude No. 8 in C Minor, "Wilde Jagd" (Wild hunt)

Liszt illustrates a mad and reckless chase. This piece is not about hunters in the forest chasing animals; rather, in keeping with some versions of this German folktale (as implied by the German title), this "wild hunt" describes ghost riders chasing and abducting souls to bring to the underworld. According to legend, during these rides, one can hear strains of beautiful music.

Etude No. 9 in A-flat Major, "Ricordanza" (Remembrance)

Busoni described this etude as being "like a packet of yellow love-letters." With its Italian appellation, it transports the listener to a bygone era of singing lovers, sparkling sentiments, and faded memories. The ingenious fifteen-year-old Liszt composed this finest of melodies.

Etude No. 10 in F Minor

Other than the second etude, this is the only piece without a title given by Liszt. Busoni names this one "Appassionata," and perhaps uncoincidentally, Beethoven’s Appassionata Sonata is also in F minor—and their codas have similarities. One of the most-performed etudes of this set, its passionate and breathless syncopations arrive at a climax with octave D-flats heard twenty-three times in a row.

Etude No. 11 in D-flat Major, "Harmonies du soir" (Evening harmonies)

Liszt touches upon the spiritually transcendent in the opening of this exquisite tone poem. Gentle, distant bells, as chords without their normal tonal functions, ring over what feels like a timeless vista. The music swells, but before the grand climax of the theme, a recitative ensues over "l’accompagnamento quasi arpa" (accompaniment like a harp). Before the end, it returns to a sudden repose. Rosen’s remark that Liszt’s "feeling for sound was the greatest of any keyboard composers between Scarlatti and Debussy" aptly describes this piece.

Etude No. 12 in B-flat Minor, "Chasse-neige" (Blizzard)

Busoni described this piece as "the noblest example, perhaps, amongst all music of a poetizing nature—a sublime and steady fall of snow which gradually buries landscape and people." One can hear the gradual accumulation of snow and its many movements: steady snowfall, gusts, and eventually, avalanches.

  March 2,2024

中華表演藝術基金會第35屆音樂季第3場音樂會,將於38日週五晚上八時,邀請韓國鋼琴名家 Minsoo Sohn 在紐英崙音樂學院喬登廳 (Jordan Hall) 舉行一場鋼琴獨奏會。曲目包括:李斯特的安慰 Consolations S. 172 和超凡練習曲 Transcendental Etudes S. 139

票價為 $20 (7-13)$40$60。提供學生免費票(14歲以上),及非學生贈送卷。需事前預訂。6歲以下兒童請勿入場。詳情請在中華表演藝術基金會的官網查詢. 線上售票38日下午2時將關閉。現場門票售價為10美元,僅限現金支付。

Minsoo Sohn 高超的藝術才華與獨特的音樂詮釋,廣泛受到評論家和觀眾的讚賞。

《纽约时报》形容 他为 一位真正的艺术家,具有深思熟虑的理念和诗意的解释。《波士顿环球报》赞扬他以令人激动、个人化、充满音响的方式演奏,富有弹性。天生就是为钢琴而生。

在紐約卡內基音樂廳 (Carnegie Hall)演奏後,紐約音樂會評論 (New York Concert Review)說:『展現了鋼琴大師之風範….總能輕鬆的克服駕馭所有能夠想像以及難以想像的難度挑戰親和的風格,自信純熟的技巧,勾畫優美旋律,完整無缺的全面音樂呈現。』

Minsoo Sohn 三歲開始學習鋼琴。大學起就在波士頓新英格蘭音樂學院,習師於鋼琴大師羅素謝爾曼 (Russell Sherman) Wha Kyung Byun2004年他在英格蘭音樂學院取得最高藝術家文憑 (Artistic Diploma)。我们谨以这场音乐会来纪念几个月前逝世的Russell Sherman 先生。

Minsoo Sohn 2006年加拿大Honens 國際鋼琴大賽第一名獎。及克利夫蘭大賽 (Cleveland) 銀牌獎,Hilton Head 一等獎,Busoni, 魯賓斯坦, 伊麗莎白女王, Santander  等國際鋼琴大賽特等獎。

他已多次在北美、歐洲和以色列各種重要場地和節日慶典中表演。曾和多位知名指揮大師和樂團合作。2008 他出了首張唱片,多倫多星報(Toronto Star)報導描述 他優雅的,從容的騰躍過驚險的技術挑戰…”

Minsoo Sohn 以其對巴赫的《哥德堡變奏曲》的詮釋而聞名,《紐約時報》稱讚他的錄音作品為「一個美麗而清晰的詮釋」,將其列為2011年最佳古典音樂錄音之一。

2020年,正值貝多芬誕辰250周年之際,Minsoo Sohn 在首爾藝術中心的一系列獨奏會,演奏並錄製了貝多芬的三十二首奏鳴曲。獨奏會系列還包括貝多芬巨著的《迪亞貝利變奏曲》和小品集 (Diabelli Variations and Bagatelles)。在2020年秋季發行了廣受期待的九張專輯組合《完整貝多芬鋼琴奏鳴曲集》(Complete Beethoven Piano Sonatas)

2023 返回母校新英格蘭音樂學院任教之前,Minsoo Sohn 曾在密歇根州立大學和韓國藝術大學職。他的一位學生 Yunchan Lim 任奫燦 2022年贏得了范克魯本 (Van Cliburn) 國際鋼琴比賽冠軍,成為該比賽有史以來最年輕的獲獎者 (18). Yunchan Lim 正繼續跟隨 Minsoo Sohn 在新英格蘭音樂學院學習






音樂會門票分為$60 (貴賓保留區、可預先指定座位)及$40(不對號自由入座)兩種, 學生票$20 (不對號自由座區)  。六歲以下兒 童請勿入場 。網站購票無手續費 。
$60: VIP Reserved Seats
$40: open seating at non-VIP section
$20: student open seating at non-VIP section
Children under 6 not admitted.

提供100張免費學生票 (14歲以上, 每人一張) 請上 贈票網頁 索票  。
100 free student tickets available at www.ChinesePerformingArts.net only (1 per request for age 14 and up)
 

查 詢: 中華表演藝術基金會會長譚嘉陵, 電話: 781-259-8195
Email: Foundation@ChinesePerformingArts.net

 





Thank you for your generous contribution to
Foundation for Chinese Performing Arts



中華表演藝術基金會
Foundation for Chinese Performing Arts
Lincoln, Massachusetts
updated 2024