Sunday, 23 September 2012

House Concert by the Singapore Mahler Society

I am not  a member of the Mahler Society of Singapore, but occasionally do get invited to the Society's events and house concerts by the young artists who perform. Its been almost two years since I last attended one of these highly informal and enjoyable gatherings of music lovers to hear some of Singapore's most talented young musicians. There is hardly any Mahler ever performed or discussed, especially in the absence of the Society's President Tan Chan Boon, but there is always good music!

First to perform on this Saturday evening (22 September 2012) was violinist Lee Shi Mei, who won 2nd prize in the National Violin Competition in 2007. She has since studied in Massachusetts and returned as a free-lancer with the Singapore Symphony Orchestra. Displaying a very smooth and silky tone, she performed Gershwin's Summertime and I Got Rhtythm, the main theme from John William's Schindler's List, Gossec's Gavotte in D, Schumann's Träumerei, Massenet's Meditation from Thaïs and Elgar's Salut d'amour. Accompanying her was pianist Cynthia Tan.

The first pianist to perform was Wayne Teo, who has just returned from Paris where he studied with Olivier Cazal. He performed with conviction Bach's Italian Concerto and Tchaikovsky's Dumka for starters. 

Young pianist Wang Congyu is a regular at Mahler Society events. He has also returned from Paris, having being tutored by Gabriel Tacchino and Eric Heidsieck amongst others. In celebration of Claude Debussy's 150th Anniversary, he performed 5 Préludes (Danses du Delphes, Le fille aux cheveux de lin, La Danse du Puck, Ondine and Feux d'artifice), the Étude pour les octaves and the First Arabesque. He has matured greatly since I last heard him play here.

Wayne Teo returned with three very different pieces, Takemitsu's Rain Tree Sketch II, Rachmaninov's Étude-tableaux Op.39 No.1 and something by Debussy (which escapes my mind for now). 

In preparation for his recital in the Reunion islands, Wang Congyu performed Chopin's first two Ballades before taking a breather.  

Jeffrey Zhang, a former student of Congyu's, then performed Mozart's Sonata in D major (K.575), Brahms's barnstorming Scherzo in E flat minor Op.4 and Debussy's Reflets dans l'eau. 

Congyu returned to finish with the Third and Fourth Ballades of Chopin.

As an encore, he added Chopin's Andante spianato and Grande Polonaise Brillante!

An exhausting evening this certainly was, but I suspect that these young pianists can continue playing till tomorrow morning! 

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