On Friday November 8, 2019, Vadym Kholodenko, Winner of the Gold medal at the 2013 Van Cliburn Competition, played an utterly spectacular piano recital at Florida International University’s Wertheim Concert Hall in Miami.
The first half of the recital was devoted to works of Mozart and Beethoven — Mozart’s Fantasia in C Minor, K.475, Beethoven’s Seven Bagatelles, Op. 33 and Rondo a Capriccio,Op.129 (“Rage Over a Lost Penny”). His remarkable range of expressive color and dynamics brought the audience to its feet with a standing ovation.
The second half was devoted to Chopin-Godowsky Etudes. Godowsky wrote 53 Etudes based on Chopin Etudes, of which 22 are for left hand alone. The Godowsky Etudes are so difficult that few virtuosi even attempt to play them. Anyone listening to those phenomenally difficult Etudes for left hand alone could easily believe the pianist was playing with both hands, if one didn’t see that only one hand was being used.
The group of Etudes played by Kholodenko was absolutely stunning, especially his spectacular control of dynamics from ppp to fff. The recital ended with the Godowsky version of Chopin’s Winter Wind Etude, Op. 25, No. 11, for two hands and the C minor Etude, Op. 25, No. 12, which Godowsky modified for Left Hand alone. You could not have guessed it was played by Kholodenko with only one hand, if one didn’t actually see him do it.
The cheering audience came to its feet, Kholodenko rewarded them with
Liszt’s Transcendental Etude, Feux-follets. This was the most remarkable recital I have heard in many years.