Love and Longing
Yoonie Han, piano
[Steinway & Sons]
I love the repertoire on this album, virtuosic showpieces ranging from Ignaz Friedman’s take on the Ballet from Gluck’s “Orpheus” to Franz Liszt’s gorgeously overblown reimagining of the Liebestod from Wagner’s “Tristan und Isolde.” I have a special love for Schubert songs as filtered through the Liszt’s fevered imagination, and a half dozen of those are here, too.
South Korean pianist Yoonie Han has a great delicacy of tone and feeling for drama. The “Tristan” selection sometimes sound labored. I think she has to develop more strength. And while she turns in a beautiful and dignified performance of Schubert’s “Lob der Traenen,” in another Schubert song, “Wohin?,” she gets the syllables and the flow of the song wrong.
But her heart is clearly in this project and her playing is graceful and nuanced. Prokofiev’s piano arrangement of a bit of “Romeo and Juliet” is a special treat. Yoonie Han is coming to Kleinhans Music Hall next April to play Chopin’s First Piano Concerto.
– Mary Kunz Goldman