“Caroline Hong plays Corigliano, Foss and Vine”
– Etude Fantasy for Solo Piano (1976) – John Corigliano
– Solo for Piano (1981) – Lukas Foss
– Sonata for Piano (1990) – Carl Vine

Caroline Hong burns up the keyboard in these virtuoso performances of contemporary piano music. John Corigliano, whose 1976 Etude-Fantasy opens the program, calls her “one of the greatest pianists I have ever heard”.

One can see why: she plays his big, steely etude set with frightening ferocity-one fears for the longevity of her piano-but also with austere poetry in the lyrical sections and an unerring sense of melodic line in the contrapuntal cross-voicings. In Solo, Lukas Foss’s mesmerizing piano work from 1981, Hong teases out the 12-note melody from Foss’s dense, forward moving web of sound, making the piece far more than a technical tour de force.

Foss and Corigliano have always been popular composers, and rightly so. The real find on this program is the 1990 Sonata by Australian composer Carl Vine-an exciting, over-the-top exercise in piano sonority that pushes the instrument to its limits, building huge classical structures from jazz motifs, This sonata, which spans the entire length of the keyboard, is full of soulful melody, challenging harmony, and exciting syncopation. Hong plays the lyrical sections with deep musicality and the fast ones with breathtaking brio. The orchestral sound she achieves in the big bass crescendo at the end is not to be believed. This is 20th Century music played with 19th Century boldness and daring. This sensibility is all too rare these days. The recording is resonant and strong enough to handle Hong’s torrential sound. For anyone who loves modern piano music, this is not to be missed.

From – American Record Guide Mar/Apr 2006 – Used with permission of author.

Gershwin Rhapsody in Blue
with The Ohio State University Wind Symphony