Magazine article Gramophone

Beethoven: Piano Concerto No 5, 'Emperor', Op 73

Magazine article Gramophone

Beethoven: Piano Concerto No 5, 'Emperor', Op 73

Article excerpt


Piano Concerto No 5, 'Emperor', Op 73 (a).

Symphony No 5, Op 67

a Sunwook Kim pf

Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra / Myung-Whun Chung

DG [F] 481 0312GH (75' * DDD)

Recorded live


2006 Leeds winner Kim plays the Emperor Concerto in Seoul

Is it me or are Beethoven pianists getting younger? This month I've had the pleasure of encountering not only Igor Levit's masterly late sonatas (see page 68) but also this strikingly assured Beethoven Emperor from the Korean pianist Sunwook Kim. He won the Leeds Competition in 2006 when he was just 18 and in the intervening seven years has developed from an artist of great promise to an assured performer. He and Chung seem very much on the same wavelength, interpretatively, from the opening flourish onwards, and they surmount this work's tricky transitions with great naturalness. Their Adagio un poco moto is slower than some but Kim still manages to float Beethoven's lines with ease, though not rivalling Uchida in terms of transparent beauty. And no one makes the orchestral backdrop quite as beautiful as Rattle with the BPO. The finale has an infectious energy to it, Kim making the trenchant rhythms sound lithe rather than obstreperous, though artistically it doesn't reach the same heights as Brendel or Lewis. …

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