Saturday 14 January 2012

Flute and Piano Recital @ Steinway Gallery

It would seem like Korea has the largest share of young talented musicians that are making our world a better and more pleasant place to live in. Just a couple of weeks ago, I made the acquaintance of young flautist Beomjae Kim (who studies in Oberlin, Ohio) who performed most beautifully in the Bali Classical Nights festival. Just this evening, I got to meet yet two more wonderful young Korean flautists, Sanghwa Lee and Yeji Kim, who performed in a short recital with Ukrainian pianist Kseniia Vokhmianina at Steinway Gallery Singapore. This little venue is now becoming Orchard Road's most cultured place with its series of concerts featuring young talents. Never mind if its located next door to the notorious Orchard Towers...

Sanghwa Lee opened the recital with Gary Schocker's Regrets and Resolutions, enjoying herself in its jazz-inflected idiom. We enjoyed it too. She also performed Franz Doppler's Hungarian Pastoral Fantasy, showcasing a fine technique with its contrasted slow introduction and fast dance to close on a high.

The only solo came from the diminutive Yeji Kim, who mastered the tricky turns of Astor Piazzolla's Tango √Čtude No.3. The work can get breathless at times, but she coped very well for all the hoops it makes the musician jump through. She also performed Georgian composer Otar Taktakishvili's Sonata, a delightfully melodic work not so much influenced by folk music but the looming shadow of Prokofiev. Another effortless romp.

Both Kim and Lee joined forces for Doppler's Rigoletto Fantasy, the work we almost go to hear in Bali. A dramatic introduction, then a few bars of La donna e mobile quite well hidden, before the main event, which was a set of ridiculously virtuosic variations on Caro nome. The duo blended beautifully throughout, surprising one and all with their sheer nimbleness, and then closing the evening's fare with a big bang.

Applause for all three performers.

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