”His mature empathy for Kirchner’s late-life introspection and fullness of heart was truly impressive. This brief piece, barely six minutes long, is so rich, and Sohn explored it so deeply that it felt like a major event. Mr. Sohn’s next offering was Beethoven’s Sonata in E Major, Op. 109, which could be the culmination of any substantial recital, but the dreamy opening of the first movement was well prepared by the Kirchner. Using a style of pedaling he can only have learned from Russell Sherman, he brought a full measure of color and atmosphere to the first movement. His variety of tone and wide dynamic range gave a most eloquent voice to Beethoven’s abrupt modulations and mercurial shifts of mood. In the scherzo, Beethoven’s emotions are channeled into a grand, rather angry outburst, before they wander off again into another range of mental states. Sohn gave this all the weight and fullness of sound it required, while coloring the rest with a rich palette. In the concluding variations, his statement of the theme was not as inward as some pianists understand it, but rather full of resigned dignity. After the turbulence of the first two movements, Beethoven, in the variations, arrives at a point of stability, in which his expression can build progressively without straining at inner or outer boundaries. Mr. Sohn’s steady pace and the marked pauses between the variations were reinforced this equilibrium. In the final transcendent variations he showed us Beethoven, not so much floating in higher worlds, but looking up from a firm stance on the ground at the unsurpassed grand vision.The Berkshire Review for the Arts
Sohn moved on to an extraordinary reading of Ravel’s La Valse. He was every bit equal to the tonal and formal magnitude of the work, as well as its evanescent colorism. He balanced this, however, with strong accents and a clarity that only the most virtuosic technique can bring.