Fold mountains

The city in the mountains is a sanctuary of classical music


View from the 600 Majigi spot at Cheongoksan in PyeongChang, Gangwon province (Im Eun-byel / The Korea Herald)

PYEONGCHANG, Gangwon Province – With cool breezes signaling the impending arrival of autumn, the 18th Music in PyeongChang came to a close on Saturday, closing its 11-day race.

As Seoul baked in scorching heat in recent weeks, the air in PyeongChang, a mountain town some 700 meters above sea level, was cool and refreshing.

This summer edition of the music festival kicked off on July 28 with a total of 15 performances.

On Friday, the Alpensia Concert Hall was filled with romantic chamber music as violinist Clara-Jumi Kang, pianist Paik Kun-woo and cellist Kim Doo-min took to the stage. The trio performed Debussy’s Piano Trio in G major and Tchaikovsky’s Piano Trio in A minor, op. 50.

바위: Left to right: Violinist Clara-Jumi Kang, pianist Paik Kun-woo, and cellist Kim Doo-min perform Debussy's piano trio in G major at the Alpensia Concert Hall in PyeongChang, Province of Gangwon, Friday.  (MPyC)

바위: Left to right: Violinist Clara-Jumi Kang, pianist Paik Kun-woo, and cellist Kim Doo-min perform Debussy’s piano trio in G major at the Alpensia Concert Hall in PyeongChang, Province of Gangwon, Friday. (MPyC)

It was Paik’s first time at the music festival and his first piano trio performance in Korea during his 65-year career.

During the recital, Paik’s piano performance was crucial, supporting the violin and cello to play their roles.

During the interpretation of Debussy’s piano trio – often explained as a work “soft, sentimental and sugary”, in the words of the legendary music critic Harold C. Schonberg – the presence of the piano sometimes invaded the whole stage, giving off a delicate charm.

For Tchaikovsky’s piano trio written in memory of his close friend Rubinstein who died the previous year, cellist Kim opened the work with a solo cello part, followed by the trio’s 11 variations.

On the recall, Paik hugged Kang and Kim, patting their backs.

Trumpeter Alexandre Baty (front left) and pianist Son Yeol-eum (front right) and the PyeongChang Festival Orchestra perform Shostakovich's Concerto for Piano, Trumpet and Strings, Op.  35 at the Alpensia Music Tent in PyeongChang, Gangwon Province on Thursday.  (MPyC)

Trumpeter Alexandre Baty (front left) and pianist Son Yeol-eum (front right) and the PyeongChang Festival Orchestra perform Shostakovich’s Concerto for Piano, Trumpet and Strings, Op. 35 at the Alpensia Music Tent in PyeongChang, Gangwon Province on Thursday. (MPyC)

The day before the recital, the PyeongChang Festival Orchestra took the stage for a performance titled “Mirror”, accompanied by violinist Svetlin Roussev, trumpeter Alexandre Baty and pianist Son Yeol-eum, artistic director of the festival.

One of the highlights of the concert was Britten’s Simple Symphony, Op. 4. The 1934 symphonic work entertained audiences with its various movements, ranging from playful pizzicato to sentimental sarabande.

Son, originally from Wonju, Gangwon Province, shone as he played Shostakovich’s Concerto for Piano, Trumpet and Strings, Op. 35, fully delivering the melodies of the complex and virtuoso work in four parts.

Although the festival went according to plan despite the fourth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, its awareness concerts which were scheduled to take place in seven locations in Gangwon Province, including the Gangneung Arts Center and Jeongseon Arirang Center, have canceled to prevent the spread of COVID-19. -19.

The artists and festival committee members all passed preventive PCR tests before attending the festival, according to festival general manager Park Hye-young.

While the festival was required to leave an empty seat between members of the public who did not meet under Level 3 social distancing rules, it left an empty seat between each member of the public for safety reasons.

In addition to the 13 main concerts, the festival presented two recitals by the winners of the Isang Yun Competition, cellists Lee Sang-eun and Christine J. Lee, as well as 18 master classes.

Organized by the Gangwon Art and Culture Foundation and hosted by Gangwon Province, the festival was launched in 2004 to promote the PyeongChang Winter Olympics.

The next edition of the biennial festival will take place in winter.

By Im Eun-byel ([email protected])