Minkyu Kim a pianistic and musical genius at St Mary’s

Tuesday 19 April 3.00 pm


1 Gute Nacht 2 Die Nebensonnen 3 Mut 4 Die Post
5 Erstarrung 6 Wasserflut 7 Der Lindenbaum 8 Der Leiermann – 9 Täuschung
10 Das Wirtshaus 11 Der stürmische Morgen – 12 Im Dorfe

Les préludes – Poème symphonique no 3 S511a

Sensational playing says Dr Hugh Mather what more can one say when one hears such mastery.
Effortless breathtaking beauty and feats of transcendental pianism are added to the intelligence and musicianship of such an enquiring mind.
I am reminded of Gilels that I will never forget playing the Spanish Rhapsody in the Festival Hall where the energy he generated was electric and had us all on the edge of our seats.
Minkyu has the same limpet fingers of weight where he digs deep into the centre of each key and there is never any doubt about the sounds that he wants to extract from the piano.
A Winterreise that was a marvel of recreation showing the genius of Liszt to create a new art form in many ways more beautiful than the original!The twelve transcriptions from Schubert’s great song cycle ‘Winterreise’ offer a unique blending of Classical inspiration with Romantic virtuosity. Here, Liszt retained the intense lyricism and emotional impact of Schubert’s songs as he transformed them into dazzling compositions for solo piano.

Les Preludes that had a whole orchestra in Minkyu’s hands with a sense of colour and orchestration that would have put many noble orchestras to shame.Although Liszt’s thirteen symphonic poems exist in two-piano transcriptions prepared by the composer himself, it was his Czech student August Stradal (1860–1930) who was to transcribe them for solo piano – versions which demand almost superhuman virtuosity and that transform these revolutionary orchestral compositions into viable and effective piano works, faithfully preserving their masterly musical substance

The full title of the piece, “Les préludes (d’après Lamartine)” refers to an Ode from the Alphonse de Lamartine’s Nouvelles méditations poétiques of 1823.

However, the piece was originally conceived as the overture to Les quatres élémens, settings of poems by Joseph Autran which itself was drawn from music of the four choruses of the cycle. It seems that Liszt took steps to obscure the origin of the piece, and that this included the destruction of the original overture’s title page, and the re-ascription of the piece to Lamartine’s poem, which however, does not itself contain anything like the music’s ‘question’.

The 1856 published score includes a text preface, which however is not from Lamartine.What else is our life but a series of preludes to that unknown Hymn, the first and solemn note of which is intoned by Death?—Love is the glowing dawn of all existence; but what is the fate where the first delights of happiness are not interrupted by some storm, the mortal blast of which dissipates its fine illusions, the fatal lightning of which consumes its altar; and where is the cruelly wounded soul which, on issuing from one of these tempests, does not endeavour to rest his recollection in the calm serenity of life in the fields? Nevertheless man hardly gives himself up for long to the enjoyment of the beneficent stillness which at first he has shared in Nature’s bosom, and when “the trumpet sounds the alarm”, he hastens, to the dangerous post, whatever the war may be, which calls him to its ranks, in order at last to recover in the combat full consciousness of himself and entire possession of his energy.

In the beginning of 1859 Les préludes was successfully performed in New York City.Karl Klauser, New York, made a piano arrangement, which in 1863 was submitted to Liszt. In a letter to Franz Brendel of 7 September 1863, Liszt wrote that Les préludes in Klauser’s arrangement was a hackneyed piece, but he had played it through again, to touch up the closing movement of Klauser’s arrangement and give it new figuration.Liszt sent Klauser’s revised arrangement to the music publisher Julius Schuberth of Leipzig,who was able to publish it in America. In Germany, due to the legal situation of that time, Breitkopf & Hartel as original publishers of Les préludes owned all rights on all kinds of arrangements. For this reason, in 1865 or 1866 Klauser’s arrangement was published not by Schuberth but by Breitkopf & Härtel.Besides Klauser’s arrangement there were further piano arrangements by Stradal and Tausig. Liszt made his own arrangements for two pianos and for piano duet.

An amazing display and I was not surprised to see Leslie Howard in the hall cheering his true heir like we all were with this amazing display of pianistic and musical genius.

Minkyu Kim was born in South Korea in 1995. He studied piano with Soojeong Jeong at Goyang High School of Arts and with Hyung-Joon Chang and Sehee Kim at Seoul National University and harpsichord with Joohee Oh. He has won many prizes including second prize in the Korean Liszt Competition, first prize in the Jock Holden Memorial Mozart Prize (RCS), Governors’ Recital Prize for Keyboard (RCS), Philip Halstead Prize (RCS) and third prize in the Windsor International Piano Competition. He has been selected as one of 10 finalists of the International Franz Liszt Competition in Utrecht, to be held in October 2022. Minkyu has given many recitals in Korea, including several lecture concerts. He has also performed the entire Transcendental Études by Franz Liszt. Minkyu has performed piano concertos with Goyang High School of Arts Orchestra, Scottish Ensemble and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, and has had several chamber music concerts with Seoul National University Philharmonic Orchestra. After graduating with distinction from the University in 2017, he began his studies at Royal Conservatoire of Scotland with a full scholarship from ABRSM. He is currently studying for a Doctor of Performance degree at the RCS in with Professor Aaron Shorr and Sinae Lee with a full scholarship.



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