Now it’s a horse race, Slatkin says.

Posted Saturday, Jun. 08, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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The Bass Hall audience was not alone in being energized by monstrous concerto performances by Vadym Kholodenko (Prokofiev’s Third on Friday) and Saturday’s romp by finalist Beatrice Rana (the second piano concerto by the same composer.) Both performers brought the house down, and were called out for repeated bows.

Minutes after Rana finished, conductor Leonard Slatkin stood at his dressing room door.

“Now it’s a horse race,” he said. “You can see where this is heading. I feel that for the first time now. You don’t know what the jury is going to, but clearly the audience is part of this now...with these virtuoso pieces. That’s what I mean.”

He obviously referred to the crowd-pleasing performances of Rana and Kholodenko.

“And we’ve still got (Sean) Chen tomorrow with the Rachmaninov, though it’s hard to compare the two (Prokofiev and Rachmaninov),” Slatkin said. “It’s quite nice to be a part of. It’s pretty impressive.”

Rana, whose previous performances had been elegant and understated, demonstrated a dramatically different side of her playing on Saturday. She came off of the piano bench several times during the loudest passages of a loud and dramatic piece. Late in the performance she broke a string on the piano.

“I’m little. I have to find somehow all of the strength to do Prokofiev,” she said. “That’s why I was standing up. I just wanted to play a complete repertoire in the competition and I wanted to finish with the Prokofiev. It’s a concerto I like very much.”

Rana said she was aware of Kholodenko’s powerful performance the night before. Her mother, Maria, had been in the audience.

“She said he was fantastic,” Rana said. “I’m very happy for him, because everyone has practiced a lot for coming here and deserves the best from this stage. I really think that. And about the result, the result will not just be because of this final performance, but because of the six performances. I know that my performances were very different, one from the other, and now I don’t know what I have to expect, but I feel very happy about what I did.”

She said she began the Cliburn with a stack of six scores on a chair in a room at her host family’s home. One by one, as she performed them, she has moved the scores to another chair. Yesterday there was only Prokofiev and she could not wait to move it. But when she finished Friday night, having been called out repeatedly by the audience, there were other feelings.

“I was not nervous. I was so happy, because it doesn’t happen too often to play with such a good orchestra and such a good conductor, on such a good stage for a sold out theater,” she said. “It’s a dream of everybody who studies piano. I’m also a bit sad because I will not come back on this stage for a while now.”

She finished a series of backstage media interviews, then was greeted with a cheer from a throng of admirers who had gathered at the stage door.


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