Friday, February 22, 2013

REVIEW: Ravel, Tan Dun and Rachmaninov with HKPhil

Cultural Centre Concert Hall, Saturday February 2

First of all, this is hardly a review and more of a record that I attended the concert. With the Hong Kong Arts Festival on-going, I feel that if I don’t write anything about this performance, then I will just not start writing on the two performances that I have already seen of the HKAF. Also, it has been almost three weeks since I saw the concert and therefore anything I say will not be good reflection of what actually happened. However, because of the duration, what I DO remember actually shows what really made an impression on me.

The concert started with Ravel’s Valses nobles et sentimentales… and you know what? If I didn’t go back to the programme, I can’t remember what piece opened the concert! Perhaps its just age and not the performance.

Tan Dun’s Concerto for Orchestra followed and yes, I do remember this piece very well. In fact, I have got used to greeting my “concert friends” with “HESHO!!!” At least that is what I thought the HKPhil was uttering in the concerto. Like his Ghost Opera I heard early last year, the piece was quite divisive amongst my group of friends. It was one of those contemporary music that one tends to either love or hate… and I love it! The piece owes its origins to Tan Dun's opera Marco Polo (which I saw in 1997 as part of the Hong Kong Arts Festival) and deals with travel. The piece is supposed to represent “geographical, musical and spiritual” journey in which the first two were more apparent, while the spiritual part will really depend on whether one is in the mood for this kind of music. HKPhil, led by Hugh Wolff, did an absolutely fantastic job with this piece!

Rachmaninov’s Symphonic Dances closed the evening. And with “HESHO!!!” still fresh in my mind, I do remember thinking that Wolff’account was deliberate yet light; and have the spontaneity that is just right for “dance music”.

Symphonic Dances
1&2-2-2013 Fri & Sat 8PM
Hong Kong Cultural Centre Concert Hall

RAVEL: Valses nobles et sentimentales
TAN DUN: Concerto for Orchestra
RACHMANINOV: Symphonic Dances

Huho Wolff, conductor

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