Pianist Young-Ah Tak


CD Review

Young-Ah Tak

American Record Guide
By J.D. Moore
September/October 2012

New York Concert Review original link

"Young-Ah Tak’s many international performances have won much acclaim... There is certainly finesse in her sparkling reading of the Haydn, where her thoughtful use of pedaling reflects Haydn’s exploration of this innovation in the piano’s evolution, evident in an “open pedal” instruction in the score... The Schumann Carnival, certainly a cornerstone of any pianist’s repertoire as well as a foundation for Schumann’s later piano writing, is given a technically brilliant, often poetic, and in some places furious treatment. Tak offers a youthfully exuberant reading of this youthful music with its multiple personalities ranging from Pierrot and Arlequin to Paganini. The remainder of the program serves to demonstrate Tak’s considerable technical prowess in the service of thoughtful  musicality. Her Liszt Petrarch Sonnet captures the essential lyricism and poetic structure of the piece, and the Rigoletto paraphrase is marked by much finesse in the vibrant, cascading passage work that embellishes the famous Act III quartet. Leon Kirchner’s dark and dissonant 1948 Piano Sonata is a courageous addition to an otherwise fairly conventional program, and this was my first exposure to his music. I note a kinship here with the piano sonatas of Samuel Feinberg (1890-1962), that I find more convincing than the more common comparisons to Bartok. While the sonata serves to display Tak’s technical ability to master a dense and difficult score, it may not appeal to many listeners. I find that its challenges yield to repeated listening, and Tak’s thoughtful attention to tone color and structure eventually reveal both an underpinning of lyricism and a monumental sense of organic form in this work."