The young Israeli-American pianist Benjamin Hochman has been stirring up quite a bit of interest recently. He gave his first performances in the mid-Hudson Valley area on two consecutive days: Saturday evening, June 28th, at Bard College, and Sunday afternoon at Maverick Concerts in Woodstock. With luck we’ll be hearing a good deal more of him.
For years I have been complaining about the tonal quality produced by prominent young pianists. For someone with the golden sound of Sviatoslav Richter and Arthur Rubinstein in his memory, the typical sound of successful young pianists isn’t satisfying; I describe it as bronze at best, clattery at worst. Radu Lupu, Ivan Moravec, Dubravka Tomsic make beautiful sounds but they are a minority contingent. Recently, some young pianists have brought gold back into my reviewing vocabulary, including Yuja Wang and Jeremy Denk. Hochman is another. At Bard, where he played the three Brahms Violin Sonatas with his wife, violinist Jennifer Koh, Hochman displayed quality and variety of tonal production which were deeply satisfying. (The duo also gave a particularly memorable performance of the Third Sonata.)