Indeed, a good Schumann-promotion. I have been the 1st day, but I missed this 1st candidate. In the book of this copetition everybody choose the 3th Ysaye Sonate (of the 6)and nearly everybody choose 5th Mozart (of the 5). The same in the final. A lot of safe standardrepertoire 1 time Paganini1 (of the 6 he wrote) and 1 time Walton!! vc. I hope this person will reach the final, only for her repertoirechoice. In the last edition of 2009 Ray Chen played the 6th Ysaye, a good reason to get the 1st price later.
Bram, unless things have changed at QE, the choice of Ysaÿe Sonata is made by the competition and imposed to the candidates and runs in cycle with all candidates playing the same sonata. The year Ray Chen won, no. 6 was the imposed sonata.
It is interesting that they have chosen the Schumann for this year which seems to be quite a departure from previous competition choices.
I attended yesterday's afternoon session; heard 7 candidates play their first round. What was striking to me (not having been to competitions before) is that the candidates sounded quite different from each other, also interpreted the same piece often quite differently. One often hears the complaint that everybody sounds the same these days, but that was not my experience yesterday.