Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Pianist's Perfection Defies Criticism | Olga Kern Has Won Prizes at International Competitions and Is Based in New York City | Olga Kern Has Won Prizes at International Competitions

Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Pianist's Perfection Defies Criticism | Olga Kern Has Won Prizes at International Competitions and Is Based in New York City | Olga Kern Has Won Prizes at International Competitions

Article excerpt

MUSIC REVIEW

What's a poor music critic to do when confronted by a piano recital of such high quality that there is virtually nothing to say, other than "Brava"?

This was the dilemma faced by yours truly at the concert given by the hugely popular and truly impressive Russian pianist, Olga Kern, who has won major prizes at prestigious international piano competitions in recent years and is now based in New York City.

With one possible exception, the program she presented with astonishing skill and verve was mesmerizing, beginning with a crystalline group of sonatas by Domenico Scarlatti written in the late Baroque period for harpsichord. As heard on the piano, thanks to Kern's light and accurate touch, the clarity and energy of these three examples, taken from almost 600 similar compositions by Scarlatti, created an exhilarating start to the evening.

For something completely different, we heard next an almost unbearably compelling interpretation of one of Ludwig van Beethoven's most significant compositions for piano, the "Waldstein" Sonata, dedicated to Beethoven's sponsor in Vienna, Count Ferdinand von Waldstein. The count was a powerful figure in the musical politics of that time in the city known as the final home of Mozart, with whom Beethoven had hoped to study.

Working instead with Haydn, Beethoven created one of the ground- breaking examples of pianistic composition, far beyond his predecessors. Technical innovations at that time extended the range of the pianoforte, something Beethoven took full advantage of in this monumental sonata. …

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