By Abram Kreeger, producer
Somewhere in time, many pianists have forgotten that Mozart was one of the greatest virtuosos of his day. Whether it be Barenboim, Perahia or Uchida, today's well-known Mozart pianists have focused most heavily on structure and refinement in their interpretations. Tao Lin reminds us in this recording that a virtuoso pianist can also bring out plenty of excitement in the music, without disturbing the sonata's profound delicacy. Examples of this can be heard in the outer movements of the sonata. Yet, the Rondo (K. 511) and Andante Cantabile (from K. 333) show that Lin is capable of playing quite exquisitely and sensitively when needed.
Plenty of great pianists have recorded Schubert's heavenly Sonata in A (D664). However, not one has provided the sentimental warmth that Lin gives to the music. The opening movement begins with delightful simplicity. Never has the main theme sounded so refreshing as when Lin plays it. In contrast, the second movement provides the listener the opportunity for an incredible sense of meditative reflection. The bright and cheerful finale provides a fitting conclusion. In Lin's hands, the sonata is transformed into greatness.
For the two performances above, the recording is guaranteed to delight. Meanwhile, a dazzling Balakirev Islamey and a live performance of Beethoven's 32 Variations in c minor make up the remainder of the program.
For the recording, an American Steinway concert grand piano was used. Only one edit exists in the entire recording, due to a minor defect in the master DAT.
ABOUT TAO LIN
A frequent and heralded performer in nearly a hundred programs each year, Tao Lin was born into a musical family in Shanghai, China. Admitted to the Shanghai Conservatory at eight, his progress was rapid and resulted in his winning prizes in numerous competitions - including the Alexander Tcherepnin Award. He was a founding member of the Shanghai Trio, which was a finalist in the First International Chamber Music Competition in Osaka, Japan.
He came to South Florida in 1990 to pursue undergraduate studies under Roberta Rust at the Harid Conservatory (where he received the Award for Outstanding Performance) and graduate studies under Ivan Davis at the University of Miami. As winner of each School's concerto competition, he performed Mozart's Concerto No. 24 and Rachmaninoff's Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, and was a prize winner in competitions of the National Society of Arts and Letters, the Music Teachers National Association and Florida Symphonic Pops and in the Eighth Annual Palm Beach International Invitational Piano Competition.
Tao Lin made his European debut in 1995 with a concert tour of Norway. Enthusiastically received by critics and audiences, he was invited back for another tour in 1997. In the U.S., he has participated in the Aspen, Round Top, Sanibel and Highlands Music Festivals (working with such teachers as David Northington, Joseph Kalichstein and Stephen Hough), and appeared as guest artist in both the Tennessee and Virginia Music Teachers Association Conferences as well as three times in the popular Mainly Mozart Festival.
Check out the artist's website:
1. Mozart Rondo in a Minor, K.511
2. Mozart Sonata in B-flat, K. 333 - I
3. Mozart Sonata in B-flat, K. 333 - II
4. Mozart Sonata in B-flat, K. 333 - III
5. Beethoven 32 Variations in C Minor
6. Schubert Sonata in A, D664 - I
7. Schubert Sonata in A, D664 - II
8. Schubert Sonata in A, D664 - III
9. Balakirev Islamey