Review: Pianist David Fung spices up a subdued Symphony Tacoma
By Rosemary Ponnekanti
"Maybe it was the Rialto Theater — suddenly live and demanding crisper vivacity than their usual Pantages home. Or maybe it was a reduced Mozart orchestra, something they’re not famous for. Whatever the case, Symphony Tacoma produced a concert Saturday night that went quickly from lush to lackluster, only spicing up at the end thanks to a witty combination of pianist David Fung and Beethoven. ...
Not so Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 2, saved for last (a staging issue, probably) and definitely the best. Fung doesn’t make a big sound, but his wit and vivacity more than compensate. Sudden switches to piano, luxurious triplets, playful staccato runs that tiptoed into nothing made the first movement a joy, with the orchestra handling Beethoven’s mood swings with style. In the second movement, Fung gave his melodies an aching nostalgia, barely there, with a long pedal resonance that hinted at the Romanticism that was to come to Beethoven’s Vienna in the form of Gustav Mahler. A sweet oboe played lyrically over clouds of piano arpeggios into a spellbinding dialogue. The finale was another gallop, with Fung dancing his heels with glee and alternating quicksilver runs with comic pauses.
A Scarlatti sonata made an odd choice of encore, but showcased Fung’s highly original musicality."