Changyong Shin

Beethoven, Liszt, Chopin

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Korean pianist Changyong Shin, partly trained in the U.S., has been much talked about. He has a lot of pure pianistic charisma with a kind of impetuous quality, which surely commended him, despite his youth, to the talent scouts of the Steinway & Sons label. He's not afraid to offer original interpretations. Most pianists wait until later in their careers to take on Beethoven's late piano sonatas, but not Shin, who has already recorded a couple of them. The Piano Sonata No. 30 in E major, Op. 109, usually closes out a program, but here Shin plays it right at the start, as if to emphasize its proto-Romantic qualities. Certainly it is a profoundly virtuosic piece, and you get the feeling that Liszt, who played his share of late Beethoven and who is also represented on the program by the Bénédiction de Dieu dans le solitude, would have enjoyed Shin's reading, even if the deep architecture of the finale gets lost at times here. Sample the opening movement, which has an almost improvisatory feeling unlike almost any other recording of the work (Artur Schnabel may come to mind). The Chopin waltzes that close the show are also irregular in rhythm and demand your attention even if you might wish for a few conventionally lyrical passages. Beautifully recorded at Steinway Hall, this release, once again, serves notice that Shin is a young pianist to watch, and to hear.

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