When Sunwook Kim won First Prize at the prestigious Leeds International Piano Competition in 2006, he was just 18 years old. His convincing win launched a wildly successful career touring the world, performing alongside the greatest orchestras in the most famous venues, and recording the monuments of the piano repertoire. Kim’s masterful interpretation of Beethoven’s final three Piano Sonatas, Opp. 109-111 is framed by light projections in an exceptional cultural-industrial landmark, the Kunstkraftwerk Leipzig, a former heating plant turned multimedia center.
Beethoven’s final sonatas occupy a very special place within his œuvre, among the most challenging and profound works ever composed for the piano. Completely deaf by then, the composer put three of his most intimate and personal works on paper, which at the same time radiate optimism and point musically into the future like hardly any other works. Kim’s rendition is, in the words of Michael Tanner for BBC Music, “sublime music, gloriously played, and it is one of those occasions when it seems superfluous to say much more.”
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