Superb Performance of Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto 3 by Hotaik Sung and the Stanford Symphony Orchestra


(E) If there is a piano concerto that every pianist dreams to play (especially me), it is, without a doubt, the Third Piano Concerto from Sergei Rachmaninoff (often named Rach 3). Not only because technically it is very challenging to play well, but because it takes the complete soul, mind, and body from the pianist to perform it. And, the piano leads the orchestra like in the two Chopin’s piano concertos. Rach 3 is mostly listened on CDs and rarely performed in public.

The best interpretations are, in my opinion, Horowitz/Reiner ’51, Volodos/Levine ’00 and Gerich/Chailly ’79 (and my favorite being Volodos/Levine – I do like as well Olga Kern). I do not believe that Rach 3 has been played recently by the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra. I know that Helene Grimaud played Rachmaninoff Second Concerto with the San Francisco Symphony a few years ago and so did the Palo Alto Symphony Orchestra with a very talented pianist Rueibin Chen.

So when I went this Friday to Stanford’s Dinkelspiel Auditorium listening to Rach 3 played by a music student named Hotaik Sung and the Stanford Symphony Orchestra, I did not know what kind of performance I would expect. It turns out that from the very few notes to the very last ones, the performance of Hotaik Sung was simply Superb! Perfect technique, good level of passion and feelings (but not overwhelming as expected since the pianist is still very young), good level of energy, intense concentration, not too fast but not too slow, great endurance and great harmony with the orchestra which played extremely well under the direction of Jindong Cai.

So if one day, you hear that name: Hotaik Sung, drop everything and go listing to his concert! In the meantime you can listen to a recording of the second and third movement of his performance:



Note: The picture above is some Spring flowers from my garden this year.

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Categories: Arts