Sunday, October 9, 2011

REVIEW: Feng Ning's Paganini with HKPO

Hong Kong Cultural Centre Concert Hall, Friday October 7

I was not feeling well, but I just have to go and listen to this concert. I highly recommended this concert in a feature in Time-Out magazine on the virtue that Feng Ning is the 51st Paganini International Violin Competition's first prize winner AND he will be playing the Paganini's Violin Concerto No. 1. The truth is that I missed his solo recital presented by Premiere Performances last fall in Hong Kong and my friends who have attended it made sure that I never hear the end of how good the recital was!

This HKPO concert started with Roberto Sierra's Fandango. Ravel-like in the sense that it obsessed over a core idea, but it is "contemporarized" with various showcasing of solos in between. It was a good and interesting start championed by conductor Andreas Delfs, but my mind was in anticipation of the next piece... Paganini Violin Concerto No. 1.

Despite going to the concert with very high expectation, the Chengdu-born violinist didn't only meet my expectation but exceeded it with flying colors! The Concerto is a showcase piece to exhibit the technical wizardry of the player, while the audience gasp with amazement. At least, that is what I thought the Concerto is all simply about... Yes, I did gasp with amazement over Feng Ning's technique, but was even more impressed on how Ning went beyond it and provided a performance that I can only associate with a great coloratura soprano. Feng Ning's playing was passionate, lyrical and poetic. He infused his playing with so much emotions that it was almost like hearing a song enriched with words.

I left during the interval, holding on to the sound of Ning's violin.

P.S. Ning's violin string broke during the concerto... it was my first time to witness such during a performance...
Feng Ning's Paganini
7&8-10-2011 Fri & Sat 8PM
Hong Kong Cultural Centre Concert Hall

SIERRA: Fandangos
PAGANINI: Violin Concerto No.1
BEETHOVEN: Symphony No.7

Andreas Delfs, conductor
Ning Feng, violin

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