Beethoven Piano Concerto No. 4
LSO/John Eliot Gardiner
Thursday 29 November 2012, Barbican, London

By Edward Seckerson, The Arts Desk

“Kim’s strong supple fingers and super-restrained use of the sustaining pedal pulled focus on brilliant articulation and though he didn’t go in for the kind of heightened poetry that can take this piece into the realms of the other worldly his strong singing tone was as honest as it was expressive.

He and Gardiner were a wonderfully engaging partnership and Kim’s awareness of precisely when to regress into accompanying mode brought all kinds of orchestral detail to the fore. The solo cello drone in the second theme of the finale was a case in point and how exciting that was with Gardiner eliciting hard-sticked detail from his trumpet-driven timpanist.

But the heart of the matter was, of course, that extraordinary slow movement where Gardiner had his LSO strings lay down the sternest declamations from Beethoven’s Furies while Kim’s Orpheus took his calming oration almost literally from out of the air.”

By Douglas Cooksey,

“Launching this concerto without fuss takes a certain finesse. In this instance, with the pianist’s initial chord gently spread, the orchestra’s response heard almost from beyond, one knew that all would be well. The interplay between Kim and an LSO on peak form took us to the heart of the matter, with an acute sense of classical style rare in any pianist. Everything flowed effortlessly and yet had the ‘gift to be simple’ whilst never sounding bland.”