Monday, June 27, 2011

REVIEW: Joyce Yang with HKPO

Cultural Centre Concert Hall, Saturday June 18

June 18 saw the 1st of three installments of HKPO's Tchaikovsky Festival. For the first installment, the orchestra offered the crowd pleasing Piano Concerto No. 1 and the potent Symphony No. 4.

Joyce Yang, the soloist for the concerto, came to international attention when she took the silver medal in the 2005 Van Cliburn International Competition and became the youngest prizewinner in the competition’s history. As the youngest contestant, Ms. Yang swept two additional awards as an all-around winner, receiving the Steven De Groote Memorial Award for Best Performance of Chamber Music with the Takàcs Quartet; and the Beverley Taylor Smith Award for Best Performance of a New Work. In 2010, she received the prestigious Avery Fisher Career Grant

Below is the link to my review in the TIME-OUT magazine of her performance with the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra and conductor Edo de Waart:

http://www.timeout.com.hk/big-smog/blog/43550/joyce-yang-performs-with-the-hkpo.html




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Posted in Time-Out Hong Kong on June 20 2011

Joyce Yang Performs with the HKPO

For the first installment of HKPO’s Tchaikovsky Festival, the orchestra offered the crowd pleasing Piano Concerto No. 1 and the potent Symphony No. 4. Joyce Yang, the soloist for the concerto, came to international attention when she took the silver medal in the 2005 Van Cliburn International Competition and became the youngest prizewinner in the competition’s history. In 2010, she received the prestigious Avery Fisher Career Grant.

Yang’s technical ability was impressive. In the outer movements, the chords and octaves were handled with weight and depth of tone; and in the slow movement, the finger-work was dazzling. At a technical level, Yang's playing will not ruffle any Tchaikovsky purist's feathers.
However, it takes more than these qualities to make this heavily-played concerto fly. What was lacking was a distinctive interpretation of the piece, spontaneous inflections and calculated surprises that subtly colour without breaking the musical thread. The HKPO on the other hand, led by maestro Edo de Waart, played in equal partnership with Yang and unabashedly pushed the orchestra to the full-blooded boundary of the romantic manner to good effect.

After the intermission, de Waart once again displayed his command for musical narrative in Symphony No. 4. Throughout the first movement, the tension held beautifully, an important feat with one of Tchaikovsky’s longest symphonic movements; the slow movement opened simply and almost proceeded on autopilot; the Scherzo made the most of the balalaika pizzicati with subtle graduation and perceptive use of colors; and the finale was unavoidably exciting. Tchaikovsky’s splendid string writing and resonant brass scoring is such that, when played well, the effect truly excites and the end culminates with visceral power as it did here. It was a fine performance.
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Tchaikovsky Festival: Joyce Yang’s Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 1
17 & 18 June 2011, Fri & Sat 8PM
Hong Kong Cultural Centre Concert Hall

Programme
TCHAIKOVSKY: Piano Concerto No. 1
TCHAIKOVSKY: Symphony No. 4

Pianist: Joyce Yang
Conductor: Edo de Waart

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