Quentin Kim

Romantic Tales

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The soft, hazy focus of the cover picture of pianist Quentin Kim's debut album is a harbinger of what listeners will find by exploring further. Kim's program is broad, ranging from Bach to Liszt, even including two of his own compositions. While the selection of literature does not incorporate anything with exceptional heft or substance, the potential is still there for a satisfying album. Kim's technique is quite refined, brilliantly nimble, and intricately nuanced. His musical interpretations, however, are not. Rubato is used indiscriminately throughout the album, with practically every phrase seeming to necessitate a dramatic ritardando. Dynamic contours are equally overdone and unnecessarily exaggerated. The result is an endlessly fluffy, overly sentimental, and saccharine performance. The album's liner notes, also written by Kim, are likewise filled with metaphors without providing much real information to listeners about the pieces to which they will listen. Unless you're in the market for some entirely innocuous background music, this is probably an album to skip.

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