Midnight Monologues and Poetic Impressions, at Tenri Cultural Institute

New York-based Korean pianist
Yoojung Kim

In 2011 and 2012, during a time when she spent many long days out, arriving home late at night Yoojung Kim would seek comfort and renewal by expressing her emotions through improvisation at the piano, recording her improvisations with the voice memo app on her phone. The gloomier her mood, the more inspired she would be. “It was like writing a journal, with my fingers writing sounds through my songs.” At the time, these recorded improvisations remained secret. But more recently, on the Artist Faculty in Piano Studies at NYU Steinhardt, she has felt an increasing desire to share them. On Thursday, bearing the title Midnight Monologues, their premiere will be the foundation of her recital at the Tenri Cultural Institute. Interleaving between the Monologues, Professor Kim will play works by Scriabin and Debussy.

There are several more distinctive aspects to make this recital a very special event for concertgoers. First, attendees (of legal age) are invited to a pre-concert wine reception. During the concert, on the large white wall in the performance space will be projected original photographs by Professor Kim along with her original poems, and moving-image artwork by Matthew David Wachsman. Those desiring an even fuller sensory experience will be invited to sample their complimentary fragrance from strangelove. An evening full of sensory rewards!

Puzzle Completed: Tobias van der Pals and Pål Eide at Carnegie Hall

Tobias van der Pals (cello) and Pål Eide performing at Carnegie Hall on November 10, 2022
Photo by Jeanette D. Moses

Over a hundred years ago, early works of the Danish/Dutch composer Leopold van der Pals saw their world premiere at Carnegie Hall. A week ago last Thursday, I had the good fortune to be at the Weill recital hall at Carnegie Hall to hear Tobias van der Pals and Pål Eide perform a carefully curated program of works for cello and piano, centered around another world premiere of Leopold van der Pals: his first cello sonata, performed by musical partners including the composer’s great grandnephew. The hall was packed with audience members of all ages who had come to hear this work, written in 1906 while the twenty-two-year-old composer was recuperating from tuberculosis at a Swiss sanatorium. The sonata could not be performed until the missing puzzle piece—the last several pages of the score—was discovered by Tobias and the whole work painstakingly and lovingly updated by him with markings for dynamics and bowing.

GLIÈRE Con Moto in E Major from Twelve Pieces, Op. 51, No. 1 (1910)
GLAZUNOV Chant du ménéstrel, Op. 71 (1900)
LEOPOLD VAN DER PALS Sonata for Cello and Piano, Op. 5a (World Premiere, 1906)
TCHAIKOVSKY Pezzo capriccioso, Op. 62 (1887)
RACHMANINOFF Cello Sonata in G Minor, Op. 19 (1901)
(Encore) GLAZUNOV Spanish Seranade, from Two Pieces for cello and orchestra, Op. 20 (1887–1888)
(Encore) LEOPOLD VAN DER PALS, Nach der Jagt, Op. 1 No. 3 (ca. 1905), song based on Ohotsuno Ozi’s 8th-century poem, arranged for cello and piano by Tobias van der Pals

Continue reading

Treasure from the Archive: Van der Pals World Premiere at Carnegie Hall

Composer Leopold van der Pals (left) and great-grandnephew, cellist Tobias van der Pals

In 1911, two Symphonic Poems of composer Leopold van der Pals saw their world premieres at Carnegie Hall, framed by orchestral works of Wagner, Liszt, Mendelssohn, Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninoff. Now, 111 years later, another of Leopold van der Pals’ works will see its world premiere. On November 10th, cellist Tobias van der Pals and pianist Pål Eide will be performing the work at Carnegie Hall.

In 2000, Tobias van der Pals was a twenty-two-year-old cello student in his first year at music conservatory in Copenhagen. In that year he found out about an archive in Dornach, Switzerland at which were stored works of the composer Leopold van der Pals, Tobias’s great granduncle, who lived from 1884 to 1966. Traveling with his grandfather to the town where Leopold had lived the last decades of his life, they were granted access to the archive. There Tobias found a treasure: manuscripts of nearly all the composer’s works.

Continue reading

An Angelic, Powerful Collaboration: Takács Quartet & Garrick Ohlsson

Takács Quartet photo credit: Amanda Tipton. Garrick Ohlsson photo credit: Dario Acosta

Natalie Vargas Nedvetsky attended the recital of the Takács Quartet & Garrick Ohlsson, performed at the 92nd St Y October 23, 2021.

To saturate an entire recital with the chamber works of Johannes Brahms can present ample opportunity for showcasing the man’s kaleidoscopic compositional reach, especially if you pair works from the start and end of his life. However, in this recital, the artists made a deliberate choice to intertwine two works extremely close in opus–letting us judge for ourselves how varied or consistent Brahms can be within one era of his life. 

Johannes Brahms

Piano Quartet No. 2 in A Major, Op. 26
Piano Quintet in F Minor, Op. 34

The Takács Quartet, together with Garrick Ohlssohn, makes for an angelic, powerful collaboration. Each player has their own distinctive approach and emotional universe that they seamlessly entwine with the others’. Despite the often stark stylistic differences between players (which will be explored later), the goal of the piece is consistently reached–in color, intent, pacing, and shape. 

Continue reading