Saturday, 9 December 2017


Kris Foundation Concerts
Esplanade Recital Studio
Thursday (7 December 2017)

Every year, the Kris Foundation (founded by philanthropist and SSO Ladies League member Kris Tan) presents recitals and concerts featuring talented young Singaporean musicians and the occasional foreigner residing in Singapore. This evening, the spotlight fell upon the Medan-born Indonesian pianist Evelyn Handrisanto, who was a graduate from the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts and the 1st Prizewinner of the First Nanyang International Piano Competition held in Singapore earlier this year.

The first half of her concert showcased solo piano works, opening with Debussy’s Second Book of Images. Evelyn crafted a beautiful crystalline tone in Cloches a travers les feuilles (Bells Through The Leaves) with the use of exemplary pedalling, and the exoticisms of Et la lune descend sur le temple qui fut (And The Moon Sets Over The Temple) were very well brought out. The cycle finished with a shimmering view of Poissons d’or (Goldfish) which was built to a great climax.

The next two works were by young Singaporean composer Lim Kang Ning, who happens to be the daughter of Kris Tan. Sommerlied has an early Romantic feel, redolent of the sound world of Chopin, John Field and Mendelssohn’s Songs Without Words. The key moved from D major to D minor and then back, closing with a gentle waltz rhythm. Flower Visages, influenced by Chinese music, was more of a concert showpiece. It opened in C major in the manner of Ryuichi Sakamoto’s film scores before erupting into a vigorous dance embellished by sweeps simulating a guzheng. Evelyn played these very well, and one hopes to hear these again, especially the second piece.

The first half closed with Chopin’s Andante Spianato & Grande Polonaise Op.22. Evelyn provided a nice pearly touch to the nocturne-like Andante even if she did miss a few notes in the ornamentations. The romping Polonaise was taken with vigour, and a few more notes were missed in this somewhat jittery performance before closing on a high.

The second half was devoted to Schubert’s Piano Quintet in A major, popularly known as the Trout Quintet. Evelyn was partnered by her friends from the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts, Nadine Ng (violin), Jolene Goh (viola), Chee Jun Sian (cello) and Chee Jun Hong (double bass), and together they made many nice sounds. This work is the epitome of hausmusik, that Biedermeier concept of music-loving friends coming together to make music in a convivial spirit at home. Granted this was a public concert venue, but the atmosphere generated was one of informality and congeniality.

The players, save Evelyn, were informally attired but the music was treated with the respect it deserved. Evelyn was in sparkling form, providing the lead and main thrust of the performance. The players were young and sometimes this showed in the raw edges that were occasionally heard. However each movement was played with genuine love and lilt, culminating in the 4th movement’s Theme & Variations based on Schubert’s lied Die Forelle (The Trout). The finale was also taken at a goodly pace, closing the enjoyable concert in high spirits.

The performers with some of
their teachers and friends.

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