Chopin
Sonata in B minor, Op.58
Mazurkas, Op.59
Nocturne in E flat, Op.9/2
Fantaisie-Impromptu in C sharp minor, Op.66
Andante spianato et Grande Polonaise brillante, Op.22
Dong-Hyek Lim (piano)

Recorded in August 2003 at Henry Wood Hall, London
CD No: EMI 5577022
Duration:
Reviewed: March 2004
Rather ridiculously EMI offers no biography for Dong-Hyek Lim – the cover photo suggests he’s in his late teens – and rather than present him on its Debut label, EMI has opted for a full-price issue, which seems something of a gamble.
So his playing will have to speak for itself, which it does, impressively. Dong-Hyek Lim is superbly recorded and is revealed as both a heroic and lyrical Chopin interpreter, if sometimes too rhetorical. Fortunately, while he can make a big statement he also realises how crucial it is to sustain an argument with dynamic contrasts and a range of touch. He can melt a phrase too, and he plays with plenty of heart and sensitivity.
There is though a lack of colour, although he produces a full and beautiful sound, and there is also a lack of temporal variety across this hour-long recital, both in response to different forms, especially the Mazurkas, which are not quite as fluidly elusive as they need to be (but he’s on his way), and in being a little ’obvious’ in sounding those magically intangible moments that are so redolent of the greatest Chopin playing.
Certainly the B minor sonata introduces us to a fleet-fingered, sonority-conscious performer who is poised, confident and masterful of the notes; there’s no doubting his love for and involvement in the music. Yet, there is an interpretative sameness over 60 minutes – but he’s certainly a pianist one wants to hear more of.
Dong-Hyek Lim hopefully will find himself motivated higher – should he seek the terrain occupied by, say, Piotr Anderszewski then he will be setting the worthiest of goals.

 

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