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“Perfect Paik Kun-woo”

Posted August. 17, 2005 06:27,   


In the history of keyboard music, Bach’s “The Well-Tempered Clavier” and Beethoven’s 32 piano sonatas are called respectively the Old Testament and the New Testament in the music community. Since, through the compositions, people can taste the thoughts, meditation, ideals, and passion of humans expressed through their notes.

There are only a few musicians who recorded or are recording the entire works of Beethoven with so called major labels among currently active master pianists. Those are Daniel Barenboim, Alfred Brendel and Richard Goode. To that list, pianist Paik Kun-woo, called “a seeker of truth on the keyboard” has added his name. His albums recording Beethoven’s Piano Sonata collection were finally unveiled after a long wait.

The first release of his collection of Beethoven’s Piano Sonatas (consisting of 10 CDs), which is scheduled to be released in three stages, contains Beethoven’s sonatas from 16 to 26 (three CDs) and is set to greet music fans on August 23. A pianist, a music columnist and an editor of a piano magazine gave their opinions about his albums after they listened to his music.

Kim Ju-young (Pianist): Humane, So Humane-

“He was just like a Beethoven with moderation. He played Beethoven’s sonatas in a natural, joyful and healthy manner without stressing particularly one thing among note colors, composition and the perfection of the notes themselves.”

Lee In-hae (The editor of monthly magazine “Piano Music”): Perfectionist-

Paik Kun-woo, who places his fingers on the keyboard elaborately according to each note, is a perfectionist. He gives us a chance to hear his elaborate music through tight construction and insight.

Park Je-sung (Music columnist): Idiosyncratic and Creative-

People can listen to a creative, idiosyncratic and historical playing of Beethoven’s sonatas through his albums. Paik Kun-woo translates the music language of the West into Korea’s unique internal world and music language in his albums.

His second release of Beethoven’s Piano sonatas (1-15) and third release (17-32) are set for Fall 2006 and Spring 2007, respectively.

Yoon-Jong Yoo gustav@donga.com