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Soundscape / Kay Kyung Eun Kim

Release Date: 01/05/2024
Label: Steinway & Sons Catalog #: 30230
Composer:  Philip Glass ,  John Corigliano ,  Brian Field Performer:  Kay Kyung Eun Kim

Pianist Kay Kyung Eun Kim, prize-winner of the 6th Mozart International Piano Competition, debuts on the Steinway & Sons label with a collection of piano music by New York composers Brian Field, John Corigliano and Philip Glass. Field?s Three Passions for our Tortured Planet was written for Kim in 2019 and was composed to spread the word about climate change through music. Kim's powerful performances bring out the raw beauty of these works.

Album Credits:
Recorded September 5-7, 2023 at Bucheon Art Center, South Korea.
Producer: Jin Choi
Recording/Mastering:Sempre la musica
Recording Engineers: Kyung-Wook Kim, Jongwon Shin
Editing: Hari Yim
Piano: Steinway Model D
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Executive Producer: Jon Feidner
Art Direction: Jackie Fugere
Design: Cover to Cover Design, Anilda Carrasquillo
Project Coordinator: Renée Oakford

R E V I E W:

The Korean pianist Kay Kyung Eun Kim, a champion of contemporary works and innovative keyboard techniques, offers pieces by three New York composers written between 1976 and 2019.

John Corigliano's Fantasia on an Ostinato reveals the influence of minimalism as it builds upon and contemporises the bass-line pattern in the second movement of Beethoven's Seventh Symphony. Kim realises beautifully the improvisatory style of this work, with its gradual increase of intensity that accommodates subtle rhythmic and harmonic variation.

Expert and resourceful keyboard-writing also characterises Corigliano's Etude Fantasy, a set of five linked yet disparate pieces. The work requires a virtuoso pianist, not least in the scampering figurations and double notes in both hands of No 3, and the shimmering trills, clusters of notes and incisive Bartókian hammering in No 4. The final Etude calls for hushed playing over long and concentrated stretches.

Philip Glass's Metamorphosis I and II are relatively brief essays in minimalism with patterns of hypnotic repetition, gently consoling intervals and ever-so-gradual shifts in otherwise stationary harmonies. In Metamorphosis Il, the steady accompaniment underlies sequences of arpeggios.

Brian Field's programmatic Three Passions was written for Kim in 2019. Inspired by the phenomenon of climate change (with movements entitled 'Fire', 'Glaciers' and 'Winds'), the music is accessible and thoroughly pianistic, with sensitive applications of colour and striking contrasts of dynamics. I thought 'Glaciers' the most original panel of the triptych, with extremes of register sustained at a slow tempo, punctuated by roaring episodes to depict the break-up of glacial ice.

Whatever one's response to the music, Kim's playing throughout is exciting, passionate and meticulously controlled, as well as beautifully recorded.

-- Gramophone
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