Sunday, 31 March 2013

Photos from NUS Chinese Orchestra's Concert REMINISCENCE

This was the first time I heard the National University of Singapore Chinese Orchestra (NUSCO) perform in concert, and am very impressed by what the students have achieved. This runs alongside the accomplishments of the other NUS ensembles that I am more familiar with (namely the Yong Siew Toh performing groups, the NUS Symphony Orchestra and NUS Guitar Ensemble). If anything, it makes me very proud to be an alumus of this august institution. 

Under conductor Lum Yan Sing, the orchestra produced a terrific sound, and even if it does not approximate the lofty reaches of the Singapore Chinese Orchestra, there is much to be proud of. This very well programmed concert was lit up by the presence of three excellent young soloists, whose virtuosity added to the lustre of the evening. I hope to hear more from this very promising young orchestra.

Chiam Shi Wee was the very accomplished yangqin soloist in Phoon Yew Tien's Rhapsody on Di NĂ¼ Hua. The yangqin is played like a dulcimer or Hungarian cimbalom, with its strings struck by wooden sticks. An exquisite skill is required for the instrument to sound effortless.

Not to be outdone was Roy Yuen Ze Ming in Chen Ning-chi's Xi Shi, a guzheng concerto. Although he snapped a string along the way, he managed his extremly difficult solo part by playing on the other strings. A new guzheng was later brought in for him to complete the performance.  

The orchestra conducted by Lum Yan Sing also performed Chen Ning-chi's The Fairy of the Ninth Heaven and Phoon Yew Tien's Spring of Taishan. In the latter, the score was projected on the screen behind and the vision of Taishan gradually emerged into view by the end of the piece.

Receiving the loudest and most prolonged applause was Yang Shuxiang, the violin soloist for the evergreen Butterfly Lovers Concerto by Chen Gang and He Zhan Hao. He truly has the full measure of the work's hyper-romantic narrative and the requisite technique to make his reading convincing.

Someone suggested this caption to me: Paganini in pyjamas!

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