Pianist Young-Ah Tak


Concert Review

Piano Recital
April 14, 2011 at the HOAM Art Hall

International Piano Korea
By Chang In-Jong, music critic
May 2011

It was an extremely impressive recital. With a slight exaggeration, it was as if the performance by Young-Ah Tak on this night contained each element of Western music in an optimal condition inspiring people artistically. The tension and ease contained in the harmonic progress of each piece was presented in many layers, the horizontal progression constantly had a rhythmical breathing, and the wide ranges of dynamic and diverse tones were also appropriately molded and placed according to the context.  If the ability to place such musical elements to create a sensitive composition is called musicality and physical materialization of it is defined as technique, there is no doubt that Young-Ah Tak is a pianist with extremely outstanding musicality and technique. Furthermore, her concentration and devotion to the music, which could be confirmed at her recital, are also reasons that inevitably make me think highly of her. Whether or not she will remain a pianist who continuously performs very successfully or becomes a pianist who even surpasses this level will depend on her future decisions.

Her performance of the first piece, Ludwig van Beethoven’s Piano Sonata No. 6 was confirmation that a flamboyant piece is not necessary to create a charming performance.  The first movement had a clearly projected first theme and an elegant flow to the second theme.  The second movement made one realize once again about the importance of the musical breathing, and the third movement was boldly expressed.  There was nothing that felt missing from her performance of the Beethoven sonata.  The next part consisted of Schubert/Liszt song transcriptions, where the audience could feel the delicate technique and sensitivity of the pianist.  In “Gretchen am Spinnrade,” “Ständchen von Shakespeare” and “Erlkönig,” the exquisitely polished tone of Tak not only maximized the descriptive effect of the original accompaniment, but became the foundation for the development of the vivid and dramatic melody. The transparent and smooth tone in Chopin/Liszt’s “Meine Freuden” Op.74 also merged with skillfully executed rubato, generating a deep lyricism.  The last piece of the first half was “By the Beautiful Blue Danube” by A. Shulz-Evler, where the rhythm, melody, and splendid ornaments contrasted each other with vivid tones and created a multi-dimensional sense of sound. 

After the intermission, Tak played Franz Schubert’s Piano Sonata in C Minor D. 958, and it can be described as the piece that showed the integration of all of the possible elements from Tak’s performing abilities.  The first movement progressed dynamically with focused sound.  Although the second movement at times lacked sensitivity, it made a strong impression with the natural and delicate dynamics she created.  After the third movement, which showed the model of elegance, the fourth movement captivated all of us powerfully, with a display full of tension and rhythmic energy.  Tak responded with two encore pieces (Schubert’s Impromptu Op. 90 No. 3 and Liszt’s Rigoletto Paraphrase) to the huge applause of the audience, and they too were played just as successfully as the recital program.