Classical Music Guide Forum - Friday, July 19, 2013 - Written by Donald Isler

Mykola Suk Recital

Mykola Suk is a Ukrainian-born pianist who was the First Prize and Gold Medal winner at the 1971 International Liszt-Bartok Competition in Budapest. He received his doctorate from the Moscow State Conservatory, has since performed on four continents, and now lives in Las Vegas, where he is in charge of keyboard studies at the Music Department of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

His style of playing, in Brahms, at least, seems somewhat freewheeling and spontaneous, though tonally understated much of the time. Understated to the point that I occasionally wondered about the voicing of the treble of the instrument he played. (I had not heard that particular piano at any of the previous concerts this week.) And yet, he could sometimes produce a lovely and robust tone in treble melodies, so perhaps he just chose to emphasize them less than other pianists.

The two Rhapsodies were powerful, with the rhythm of the second played a little straighter than that of the first.

The D Major Variations were played in a reverent manner, yet with dark colors and outbursts where appropriate.

The three Intermezzi of Op. 119 had some lovely, sensitive ideas, though this listener would have preferred less fluctuations in tempo.

Mr. Suk's performance of the Handel Variations was neither the cleanest nor the most powerful presentation of this work though, in this case, his occasional holding back of tempi produced powerful, and dramatically effective results.

For an encore Mr. Suk played the B-Flat Minor Intermezzo, Op. 117, No. 2, which this listener considered the most impressively played piece on the program. Expansive, and with full-bodied tone, it was a lovely way to conclude the concert.

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