David Fung

The Piano: A Journey from Hubris to Humility

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To make your recording debut with the super virtuoso piano music of Liszt and Ravel takes audacity. To name your first disc The Piano: A Journey from Hubris to Humility takes more than audacity -- it takes guts. But that's what Australian pianist David Fung has done on his first release on the Yarlung label, and while no one would deny he has the chops to carry off the hubris, some might wonder if he has the soulfulness to carry off the humility. Fung gets a clear, bright tone out of his piano's upper register; a rich, full tone out of its middle register; and a lush, ringing tone out of its lower register. He has the digital dexterity to handle the evanescent arabesques of Liszt's Villa d'Este and Ravel's Jeux d'eau and the physical power to handle the incandescent double octaves of Liszt's B minor Sonata and Ravel's La Valse. And he surely has the interpretive élan to triumph over the heroic demands of the music, ripping into even the knottiest pages with fearless impetuosity. But, given the title, the inevitable question has to be if Fung has the ability to make the journey from hubris to humility. And, unfortunately, the answer has to be a provisional no. Fung's reading of Bach's gnarly Prelude and Fugue in B flat minor from the Well-Tempered Klavier Book 1 is dark but not especially deep and his account of Ravel's sublime Pavane is clear but not particularly profound. And in comparison with the reckless technical brilliance of the B minor Sonata or La Valse, Fung's Prelude and Fugue and Pavane sound superficial but not a bit humble. Yarlung's digital sound is big, loud, and reverberant.

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