Thursday, 25 June 2009

Rex & William Wei with Peter Vinograde Piano Recital / Review

Piano Recital
Esplanade Recital Studio
Wednesday (24 June 2009)

With so many child prodigy musicians cropping up of late, the inevitable question posed is how old should a young talent be before he or she is subject to critical scrutiny, or inflicted on the public? Eleven seems to be the magic figure, which is the age of William Wei at his local debut in a joint recital with his elder brother Rex and teacher Peter Vinograde at the Manhattan School of Music.

Rex, three years William’s senior, opened confidently with Bach’s Toccata in E minor (BWV.914), displaying clarity of articulation with a nice palette of shadings and dynamics. This supra-student recital level continued with the Prélude from Debussy’s suite Pour Le Piano, where its sweeping glissandi and big sonorous chords impressed, before closing exuberantly with the cross-rhythms and percussive drive in Ginastera’s Tribute to Aaron Copland (from the 12 American Preludes).

William had more notes to play, as if to compensate for his youth. In a Bach Prelude & Fugue, the 1st movement of Beethoven’s D major Sonata (Op.10 No.3), Debussy’s Gardens In The Rain and Mendelssohn’s Rondo Capriccioso – all fast works - the tendency was to rush the fences, often sacrificing accuracy for velocity. In Chopin’s ruminative Étude in C sharp minor (Op.25 No.7), all the notes were there, but where were the sorrow and the tears? The feat of memorising this repertoire was certainly an admirable one. With time and further learning, he will internalise and make these works his own.

The second half belonged to Vinograde, last heard in Singapore as violinist Midori’s pianist collaborator, who in all intents and purposes represents the finished product. His view of Bach’s Toccata in D major (BWV.912) and Beethoven’s Les Adieux Sonata (Op.81a) bristled with brio, bolstered by an almost orchestral approach to sound production that vibrantly resonated within the hall. The shorter pieces by Canadian composer Michael Matthews, and further Études by Chopin (Op.25 No.1) and Rachmaninov (Op.33 No.6) also gleamed like sparkling gems.

Teacher and students were finally united in Rachmaninov’s Waltz for 6 hands, a delightful bauble of salon kitsch. The journey of a musician is a long and arduous one, and while the Wei brothers are in the anthracite stage of their musical development, the quest for diamonds is one well worth working hard for.
This concert was presented by Dong Lee Investment Pte.Ltd.

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