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Olga Kern: 11th Van Cliburn Int'l Piano Competition 1 Import

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Audio CD, Import, October 9, 2001
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Olga Kern, age 26, was born into a family of musicians and began studying piano at the Central Music School of Moscow at the age of 5. Winning her first international competition at 11, she has earned several top prizes, including the grand prize of the 2000 Cantu International Piano Competition in Italy. Kern has already performed in many of the great halls of the world, including La Scala in Milan.

Olga Kern shared first prize with Stanislav Ioudenitch at the 11th Van Cliburn International Piano Competition in June 2001 and became the first woman to win a Gold Medal at the Fort Worth contest since Christina Ortiz in 1969. I am less impressed than the Cliburn's jurors were. In show pieces such as Liszt's Reminiscences de Don Juan, she certainly reaches decibel levels higher than those of Ioudenitch in the same composer's comparably flashy Rhapsodie espagnole and Hungarian Rhapsody No. 6. But if she's louder than Ioudenitch, she's also less compelling musically. Her performance of the Liszt fantasy on themes from Mozart's Don Giovanni lacks the flashing wit and depth of feeling revealed by such Lisztians as Gregory Ginzburg (Arlecchino), Simon Barere (Pearl and Cembal d'Amour), and Jorge Bolet (London Classics). In another Liszt transcription--of Wagner's Isolde's Liebestod--her tremolandos and her use of the sustaining pedal are too ponderous to provide the shimmering and glowing texture necessary to the music. And her performance of Scriabin's Sonata No. 9 ("Black Mass") lacks the requisite grotesquerie and menace. She is at her best in second-rate music--the Impronta Digitale of Judith Lang Zaimont and the neo-Romantic Sonata (Op. 26) of Samuel Barber. --Stephen Wigler

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Scriabin: Piano Sonata #9, Op. 68, "Black Mass"
  2. Wagner-Liszt: Isolde's Liebstod
  3. Barber: Sonata for Piano, Op. 26
  4. Judith Lang Zaimont: Impronta Digitale
  5. Liszt: Reminiscenes de Don Juan

Product Details

  • Performer: Olga Kern
  • Composer: Samuel Barber, Franz Liszt, Franz Schubert, Alexander Scriabin, Judith Lang Zaimont
  • Audio CD (October 9, 2001)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Import
  • Label: Harmonia Mundi Fr.
  • ASIN: B00005QKFM
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #339,271 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

33 of 44 people found the following review helpful By George on July 19, 2002
Format: Audio CD
I'd have to say that, being from a younger, more receptive generation, my opinion of Ms. Kern is that of great regard. Having audited masterclasses and been to concerts, seeing her interact on the personal and professional level, it is easy to see that Ms. Kern's ability to project and produce in her abilities are much greater (and evidently more taken for granted) than other reviews would like to give her credit. Bravissima, Ms. Kern.
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13 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Douglas R. Mcgrath on January 14, 2006
Format: Audio CD
I was entralled with Olga Kern's performance when I saw her in San Jose several years ago. I was also incredibly lucky to be one of the students for her masterclass the following evening. To be honest, I wasn't that familiar with a number of the pieces she played in her recital, but I thought they were nothing short of amazing. She is a powerhouse, and my personal experience with her showed her to be a wonderfully kind, patient, and very witty person with simply phenomenal musicianship. Highly, highly recommended.
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By Alicia S. on March 16, 2015
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Outstanding pianist. Great CD.
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