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Chopin by Seong-Jin Cho / The Vanderbilt Hustler review

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Seong -Jin Cho's new studio album shows how much his style has matured since the competition. While his previous renditions dwelt on exalting the lyricism and beauty of a piece, they now focus on a broader range of emotions. In the first Ballade, for instance, the pianist shatters the composition's pensive depth by concluding in an almost hysterical cackle of notes. And throughout the ballade, he imbues the fast lower notes with a kind of dark charisma, only to quickly transition to an agitated striking of high keys that almost sounds like a cry for help. But this doesn't mean that the first ballade is not without its lyricism; the first variation of the second theme is particularly lovely, and its subsequent variations feel grandly romantic.

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