Lucille Chung

Liszt

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At the close of her 2018 release on Signum Classics, Lucille Chung presents a thoughtful reading of Franz Liszt's Sonata in B minor, a touchstone for her and a major achievement for any pianist to pull off. Chung displays a strong sympathy for Liszt's wide range of expressions, as well as the technical skills to get all the notes under her hands, and her performance is convincing for its subtle shifts of mood, even though it's not overwhelming in physical power. Yet the character pieces programmed before the Sonata reveal even more of Chung's deeply personal relationship with Liszt's music, and the late pieces especially show her interest in Liszt's ambiguous treatment of tonality and spare textures. To understand the introspective side of late Liszt, and Chung's aptitude for these understated pieces, listen to Trübe Wolken, also called Nuages gris, a study that avoids conventional progressive harmony and any clear sense of resolution in a key. Chung's controlled touch and careful shading of the dynamics concentrate the attention even though the harmonies drift vaguely in and out of focus. Signum's sound is fairly close to the piano, so Chung's articulation is easy to hear, even at the softest volume setting.

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