Monday, 26 October 2009

BLACK AND WHITE STORIES by Low Shao Ying and Low Shao Suan / Review

BLACK & WHITE STORIES
Low Shao Ying, Low Shao Suan & Friends
Esplanade Recital Studio
Friday (23 October 2009, 9.30 pm)

An edited version of this review was published in The Straits Times on 26 October 2009.

It isn’t a big secret that many of the “classical” composers of today cannot string together a decent melody to save their lives. The Paris-trained Low sisters, duo pianists and faculty members of the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory, however have it between them to the raise the dead souls of the Titanic.

Theory and musical form are taught in schools, but crafting a tune takes a kind of inspiration that exists outside of the classroom. Without resorting to anything as structured as sonata form or as complex as a fugue, their recital of eighteen original solo, vocal and chamber works was as engaging as it was entertaining.

Their songs in Mandarin, such as Shao Ying’s Lu Guo Bu Xiang Yao (If Only Not), Shao Suan’s Shou Ji (Collecting) and Qing Ai De (Dearly Beloved), have a catchy, commercial quality and have been performed by popstars like Jolin Tsai. Their piano solos – Ying’s Day Dream and Tenderness, Suan’s Still and John’s Theme for example - also carry numerous New Age influences and make high class lounge music.
How to tell the Low twins apart:
Shao Ying is the sister with the shorter haircut,
or is it the other way around?

Their chamber music included accompanied works for violin, flute, oboe and still larger forces. Suan’s Morning Blues (violin), a ragtime number filled with portamenti (slides) was sparked by something as mundane as seeing her father wake up on a Sunday, and Ying’s Nostalgia (oboe), a rondo in A minor was reminiscent of similar character pieces by Schumann.

The Oxley Quartet, led by violinist Seah Huan Yuh, guested in A Walk In The Woods, a palm court movement from a nature-inspired string quartet. Piano quintet and oboe was the medium used for Ying’s Winter Flower, just the perfect work for a chick flick on celluloid. Two movements – Waltz and Against All Odds - from Suan’s Trio for the unusual combo of piano, bassoon and vibraphone had a very nice ring to them, completing an enjoyable evening.

Suspending all critical faculties for just over an hour, there was heart and warmth to cure a depressive, and sugary sweetness to kill a diabetic.

1 comment:

Suan said...

Hi Tou Liang!

Thanks so much for your nice review! Haha. As for our photo, Shao Suan is the one on the left with short hair, but now she has long hair, so Shao Ying is now the one with short hair. Either way, you're right! Haha. ;-P

Have a great week ahead and see you soon! We'll pass you a copy of our CD once it's out. Thanks for your support! :)

Warmest wishes,
Shao Suan & Shao Ying