The focus in the local classical music scene this last weekend was the double appearance of Cliburn competitor Di Wu, who was one of the six finalists in this year's competition. Wu appeared twice on the Lane Series: At UVM's Redstone Recital Hall on Nov. 6 she gave a solo recital and another, Nov. ,7 with the Burlington Chamber Orchestra under the baton of composer/conductor Michael Hopkins.
Technically this young pianist is gifted far beyond many of her peers. Her control of the softness or climactic almost pounding and their application of the appropriate touch and volume seemed to be absolute and the news gets better: She knows how to use her technique in the service of the music. She gave a pre-concert talk before the Friday night concert, and the main thrust of her talk was to explain her attitude towards music and the performance of it and what was most important during this recreation of the composer's wishes. She said technical mistakes are not so important but misunderstandings of a composer's music as evidenced most frequently in the markings that the composer has put into the score are terribly important shortcomings. This is certainly something with which I am in full agreement.
Di Wu has both the technical ability and the musical vision to become one of the leading pianists of her generation.
Friday night's program included works by both Robert and Clara Schumann in the first half and in the second half works by Maurice Ravel (one of her favorite composers) and a transcription by Franz Liszt of the Kermesse from Gounod's opera, Faust.
She played the mazurka from the Soir es Musicales, Opus 6of Clara Schumann's and followed it without a pause by the Davidsbundelertanze, Opus 6, the first movement of which Robert had given to her as a mark of his devotion. The composition was completed after they were married, and it proclaims two separate types, marking the store as F. and E., the F. being the more outgoing and vivid boat metrically and volume wise, and the E. being more introspective. She did a brilliant job of contrasting these two points of view, and received an acknowledgment from the audience members, who applauded happily.