Tuesday, October 6, 2009

A dazzling star

It's a surprise that a pianist of such caliber has attracted so little publicity prior to her debut recital performance in hong kong last week - let alone for one that's thought to be the most promising chinese prodigy in the circle. I am talking about the Yuja Wang's Piano Recital held in the City Hall just before the National Day holiday.

As far as solo performance's concerned, I always prefer the more cozy City Hall than the one across the harbor in the Cultural Centre - at least you can have a good view of the performers and their expressions as they play the pieces. The program commences with a quartet of sonatas by domenico scarlatti and concluded with the sonata no 6 in a major by prokofiev - gee she made them look so easy. Her style's been subtle yet full of youthful energy, with facial expressions that shows confidence and passion without pretentions or arrogance. Finesse usually is the word rarely used to describe a young artist but on this occasion, it seems to be a perfect one. It's hard to believe this is only her first year on tour since graduating from Curtis in 2008.

Too bad we were slightly distracted by a family of nouveau riche in the front row whose kids keep talking, moving around and making funny faces for the entire hour as if they were on a merry-go-round in the amusement park, with the helpless maid accompanying them. We found ourselves lucky not sitting right behind them and definitely won't blame the couple behind that were for walking out after the intermission. Well, as our city was desperately seeking a share of their new money with knees down and open hands, we would have to bear with that for a while, I suppose.

During her triple encore, it's hard not to be impressed by Yuja's magical touch on a "paraphrased" piece of Mozart's Turkish March. It's the same version featured on her CD as a bonus track, but seeing her moving the fingers around the keyboard as smooth as silk is simply jaw-dropping. This is probably the best version I have ever heard of this familiar - almost cliché - piece of music.

Anyway, an absolutely delightful evening - and hopefully she will continue to rise for stardom. If you have missed it, no worries - she's coming back at the end of HKPO's current season, in June 2010. In the meantime, run for her first CD - you won't regret it.

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