Incursion Trio, Esplanade Recital Studio
(Saturday, 15 August 2009)
VCH Chamber Series, Victoria Concert Hall
(Sunday, 16 August 2009, 5.00 pm)
Yang Shuxiang & Friends, Esplanade Recital Studio
(Sunday, 16 August 2009, 7.30 pm)
These aren’t the greatest of pieces, but there are enough pleasantries to shake off the derivative nature of the former (think Saint-Saëns and Fauré in a palm court), or the paucity of Hispanic-ness in the latter. Polish, confidence and a lovely overall sound are their qualities, capped with an ability to sustain long sighs in Schubert’s autumnal Notturno.
Pianist Liu Jia (above) also joined other SSO colleagues in Hummel’s Piano Quintet in E flat minor (Op.87), unusually scored to include the double bass. Stylistically caught between Mozart and Mendelssohn, this trifle was 20-minutes innocuous minutes well spent, with a scintillating piano part to tickle the palate.
Leaving the most spectacular for the last, 20-year-old violinist Yang Shuxiang made a stunning debut with pianist Khor Shang Jin (both above) to a rapturous standing ovation. Looking like Adonis sporting a Paganinian mane, Yang’s sheer force of personality and a sonorous vibrato to match was simply breathtaking. There was little to quibble about his effortless take on Vitali’s Chaconne, closely followed by Beethoven’s Violin Sonata No.7 in C minor (Op.30 No.2), which penetrated with an intensity of a laser and bristled with brio.
His ability to blend were further highlighted with duos partnering violinist See Ian Ike and violist Tan Wee Hsin, in Moszkowski’s hyper-Romantic Suite for 2 violins in G minor and Lazar Trachtenberg’s devilishly dissonant Witches Soirée respectively. The diablerie continued with Ravel’s Tzigane, a gypsy rhapsody where free-ranging sense of abandon displayed by both violinist and pianist became an asset.
May wonders in our local chamber music scene never cease, and such weekends of musical manna never end.