Pianist Young-Ah Tak


All Music Guide Review
By Blair Sanderson

New York Concert Review view the PDF verson

A collection of short pieces composed for members of the music faculty at the University of Minnesota, Pure Colors, Judith Lang Zaimont's 2005 album on Albany, has the relaxed, comfortable feeling that comes through a composer's familiarity with a close circle of performers. Although these pieces were created largely in an academic milieu, they should have a much wider appeal, partly because Zaimont's mildly modernist gestures, lush harmonies, and gentle melodic inflections make her music accessible, but also because her colleagues' communicative performances make this album more pleasurable than a collection of ad hoc, one-time read-throughs. The wide range of dates suggests that this album might be intended as a retrospective, but the early Valse Romantique for flute (1974) falls well outside the main body of work and may be considered separately. Even though Immanuel Davis' graceful performance fits temperamentally with those of the other musicians here, this flute solo feels less substantial than the later pieces and less connected to Zaimont's mature language. More compelling and consistent with the other pieces are ‘Tanya' Poems (1999), in cellist Tanya Remenikova's vivid, recitativo interpretation, and Astral…a mirror life on the astral plane (2004), a fluid clarinet solo that John Anderson delivers with a smooth tone and lively articulation. Zaimont's quasi-operatic setting of two texts by Eudora Welty, Virgie Rainey -- Two Narratives for soprano, mezzo-soprano and piano (2002) is performed with high theatricality by Wendy Zaro-Mullins, Jean del Santo, and Timothy Lovelace, respectively. For those who appreciate lighter fare, there is the humorous ‘Bubble-Up' Rag -- Concertpiece for flute and piano (2001), which flutist Davis and pianist Nanette Kaplan Solomon toss off with abundant charm and pizzazz. But the most convincing piece of the CD is the mysterious Wizards -- Three Magic Masters (2003), in which Zaimont's ideas are most cogently and completely expressed in rich harmonies and crystalline rhythms; pianist Young-Ah Tak renders this ornate piano study with drama and flair. Albany's recording is exceptionally clear and focused, so everything sounds wonderfully realistic and resonant.