It is good to see a major company like EMI giving substantive
support to young artists, such as in this series of recitals entitled
'Martha Argerich presents'. On the back cover of the disc she proclaims
'Supporting young artists is an integral and essential part of my work'.
The question we are all asking, of course, is what will happen next as
far as these talented newcomers are concerned.
There is no question that some significant new talents
will appear under auspices such as these. In due course artistic development
and a great deal of luck will determine whether a major international
career will follow.
So much for generalities, what of the performances?
Dong-Hyek Lim was born in Seoul, South Korea, in 1984, but his playing
scarcely reveals his inexperience. The Chopin performances are particularly
good, with technical command allied to a grasp of structure which does
not play itself. He is also sensitive to the subtleties of phrasing
in the D flat Nocturne, and the recorded sound in Henry Wood Hall gives
his dynamic shadings every chance to make their atmospheric effect.
Perhaps the heroic sweep of the First Ballade might
have accumulated more power along the way, and the Étude seems
curiously placed without its fellows. But this remains Chopin playing
to be reckoned with.
The Schubert Impromptus are scarcely less fine. Again
dynamics are nicely judged, and the contrasts among rhythmic pulses
and tempi make the sequence seem a whole rather than merely a collection
of miniatures. Perhaps with more maturity the phrasing might allow the
melodic contours to breathe a little more in their articulation, but
even so there is no need for allowances to be made as far as the interpretation
Lim's own transcription of Ravel's La Valse completes
the programme. On its own terms this is no mean achievement, since the
original is among the composer's most powerful and subtle orchestral
scores. The playing gives the music a real sweep of momentum, but the
effect made too often seems one of showmanship for showmanship's sake.
The original version is a masterpiece: the transcription, however interesting,
is not. Even so, Lim is a talented pianist of whom we may hear a great
deal in the years to come.