Thursday, November 25, 2010

REVIEW: Cho-Liang Lin and Jian Wang with HKPO

I have to confess that the review for this concert was not exactly easy. It took a long time for me to decide whether what I heard and felt was a mismatched or was just something different from what I was expecting... In any case, here is my review in Time-Out Hong Kong:


Posted in Time-Out Hong Kong Online on November 25 2010

Cho-Liang Lin and Jian Wang Live in Hong Kong
4 out of 5 stars

Cultural Centre, Saturday November 13

Temperamentally different, Cho-Liang Lin and Jian Wang provided an out of the ordinary rendition that bordered on being mismatched.
The Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra, led by maestro Edo de Waart, offered a Viennese-themed programme starting with Webern’s Passacaglia, Op. 1. Despite it being his 127th composition, Webern regarded Passacaglia as his first “advanced” music thus has published it as his Op. 1. Indeed the piece remains one of the most influential in the 20th century music. Edo de Waart’s finely balanced treatment heightened the natural flow of the music but down-played the robust drama.

It was followed by Brahms’ last composition before dying in Vienna, Double Concerto for violin and cello in A minor, Op. 102, featuring Cho-Liang Lin (violin) and Jiang Wang (cello). Both artists excelled in technique and expression, but it was the relationship between the two soloists that provided a nagging angst to the music.

Aside from the second movement, which was played with unity in tone and intent, the first and the third movements gave an impression of an emotional discourse with profound underlying differences. Wang was more deeply reflective while Lin was more impulsive, a combination that would have been disastrous if played by lesser performers. Instead, the partnership provided an unusual yet valid artistry, though maybe not as compelling as it could have been, or as compelling as their encore, Handel’s Passacaglia.

Beethoven’s Symphony No. 3 in E flat, Op. 55 (Eroica) came after. Throughout, the playing was heart-on-sleeve, uncompromising and bold yet with an aura of elegance about it. Edo de Waart found tenderness in vivacity and conciliation in austerity in this work of great emotional vigor and dynamic structural rigor.

Satoshi Kyo

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