Gwhyneth Chen – Piano

7 July 2019

Gwhyneth Chen’s 1999 debut recording for Pro Pianodisplays a remarkable affinity for live performance. With a formidablecombination of technical prowess, sheer resonating strength and profoundlyricism, Chen proves that she is more than capable of becoming a successor toRubinstein, Argerich or Richter. This CD presents the works of twotwentieth-century Russian composers, Alexander Scriabin and Igor Stravinsky.

Both of the Scriabin pieces need, and could only be performed effectivelyby, Chen’s fiery and dramatic temperament. Scriabin’s Fantasy and Sonata No. 3allow Chen to explore her wide range of pyrotechnics, and more importantly, herability to inspire images in the listener’s mind. Even through the limits ofrecording, she is able to conjure illusions within yourimagination.

Stravinsky’s Trois Mouvements de Petrouchka opens therecording with striking rhythm and innate pulse. The composer envisioned the workas “a puppet, suddenly endowed with life, exasperating the patience of theorchestra with diabolical cascades of arpeggios.” Chen brings the puppet tolife, and always manages to include elements of surprise and witty sarcasm to herperformances.

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She is at her best in the Stravinsky, having a full grasp of thepercussive writing and an amazing array of touch techniques and difficult leaps.Chen captures the vivid images Stravinsky had in mind when he wrote Petrouchka -the “quick tempos, concertinas, major keys, smells of Russian food, andsweat and glistening leather boots.”

At the age of 19, Chen was alaureate in the 1990 Prokofiev International Piano Competition. As the youngestcompetitor in the 1994 Ivo Pogorelich International Piano Competition, Chen wonthe grand prize, and with it, the largest monetary award in the history of musiccompetitions. She then began touring the world, performing in prestigious concerthalls with world-class orchestras. If you haven’t had the opportunity to hearChen yet, listen to this recording and you will know you are hearing a futurelegend.

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