Pianist Young-Ah Tak


Concert Review

Piano Recital
April 14, 2011 at the HOAM Art Hall

Piano Music Magazine
By Seo Ju-won, music critic
May 2011

It seems as if great performers are born that way. After all, we only see the results on the stage. Young-Ah Tak, an active performer based in the United States, recently gave a piano recital in Seoul. It was her first recital in three years in Korea, entitled, “Pure & Elegant Spring.” With her unique artistic sensibility, she presented the poetic mood of a pure and elegant spring. The program she presented consisted of pieces from the classical and romantic periods. The first half included a Beethoven Sonata and transcriptions by Franz Liszt and A. Schulz-Evler. For the second half, a sonata by Franz Schubert was performed.

During her performance of Beethoven’s Piano Sonata No. 6 in F Major, which has no slow movements and presents a variety of different expressions, Tak continually kept us intrigued with her inspiring touch. The transcriptions were performed next, including Liszt’s transcriptions of three Schubert songs, Liszt’s transcription of Chopin’s “Meine Freuden” nocturne, and Schulz-Evler’s transcription of Strauss’s “By the Beautiful Blue Danube.” The musical excitement of each of the pieces seemed to come alive in a flexible and elastic way, as if they turned into an elegant dance when played by Tak. Her performance hid any technical efforts and only showed sophisticated movement, as she enjoyed each moment while she was playing. Schubert’s Piano Sonata No. 19 D. 958 was performed in the second half, and Tak placed the warmth that comes from deep inside the heart in a transparent way. The details were delicate and the connections of the musical phrases were flawless, resulting in continuous, transparent song amid a smooth flow. Tak expressed this piece with originality and interpreted it with her own story, presenting a refreshing musical experience.

The piano seemed like a well-tamed living creature in front of her, and this was especially impressive. As if trained for a long time, the piano was reacting very sensitively to each and every change of expression that her fingertips were creating. Aristoteles had said that “excellence is an art won by training and habituation,” and Young-Ah Tak’s performance was full of the pure lyricism that is naturally expressed by those who polish their music skillfully for a long time.