Judy Huang, Pianist
Celebrating Midamerica’s 359th Concert
in Weill Recital Hall
Weill Recital Hall
(Carnegie Hall Website)
Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
December 2, 2012
J.S. Bach (French Suite No. 2 in C minor, BWV 813)
Beethoven (Sonata in C major, Op. 2, No. 3)
Brian Kehlenbach (Three Turning Pieces)
Albéniz (“Triana” from Iberia, Book II)
Schumann (Carnival, Op. 9)
Judy Huang is a 2004 Grand Prize winner of the Carmel Music Society, and she has performed around the globe. Orchestras, with whom she has appeared, are UCLA Philharmonia and Palermo Orchestra, among many. Ms. Huang also works with community outreach to bring live music to hospitals and schools.
Ms. Huang, in a demure, emerald green silk gown, opened tonight’s solo recital at Weill, before a sold-out crowd, with Bach’s French Suite No. 2. This Suite has six dance-infused suites, with prominent rhythms and swirling sophistication. The “Courante” evoked turning and skipping motifs. Ms. Huang played with the delicacy of the work, adding an element of dervish spinning to “Air”. The Beethoven Sonata in C major has four movements, opening the Allegro con brio with dramatic variations in tone, rapid rippling cascades, and bravura moments across the keyboard. The Sonata turns melancholy in the Adagio, bringing the tone to a whisper, amidst intense quietude. The Scherzo was lyrical, with repetitive refrains, merging with the final Allegro for a statuesque finale.
After intermission, Ms. Huang turned to a more contemporary composer, Kehlenbach, and his Three Turning Pieces. It’s based on the turning poems of Rumi, a 13th century Persian mystic. Each piece musically illustrates dervish circular dances, with variations in speed. The pieces are atonal, with echoing phrases and filmatic moodiness. There’s a percussive angst in crashing chords that race across the keys. It appeared that the piano was “prepared” for this piece, with an insert inside the Steinway. The Albéniz “Triana”, from Iberia, seemed to continue and expand on the swirling dervish dances, inherent in so much of tonight’s program. The music immediately evokes the gypsy culture of Spain, with repeating, exotic refrains.
The Schumann Carnival includes 20 brief dances, each representing a figure in Schumann’s fantasy, such as Chopin, Florestan, Pierrot, and Sphinxes. I found it amazing that Ms. Huang had put such works to memory, so that she not only mastered the notes and nuance, but also the order of such complex musical academia, such as Carnival. The Préamble was played with high volume, while Arlequin was joking and Valse Noble was swirling. Florestan was imbued with masked ball motifs, while Coquette evoked bustles and champagne. Papillons was imbued with requisite fluttering, while ASCH was romantic and fanciful. Later dances presented angst-driven crescendos, and the final March of the “Davidsbündler” against the Philistines was urgent and complex. This was a fine recital, throughout.