HAO ZI YOH at St Martin in Fields

Hao Zi Yoh at St Martin in the Fields
It was nice to hear Hao Zi Yoh again at St Martin in the Fields in the centre of London.
I have heard and admired her playing many times in Italy and in London as you can see from my previous thoughts above.
She was born in in Malaysia in 1995 and after her early successful studies there moved to Germany to study in Freiburg and completed her studies at the Royal Academy in London with Christopher Elton.
A very full audience with many distinguished guests including the founders of The Keyboard Charitable Trust:Noretta Conci-Leech and her husband John Leech.

Noretta and John Leech congratulating Hai Zi Yoh after her recital
A very interesting programme that showed off all her intelligence and command of the keyboard.
From Mozart Sonata K.283 showing off all the elegance and virtuosity of the young Mozart.
The rhythmic energy in the outer movements was projected with a clarity and exemplary sense of style.
The beautiful Andante was allowed to sing with all the simplicity and purity that Mozart demands.
It was the same directness and sense of architectural shape that she brought to three Rachmaninov Preludes op 23.
The D major n.4 was allowed to sing as was the ever romantic E flat n. 6 building up to a sumptuous climax that was never hard and always within the context of the melodic line.
Played like the true musician that you would expect from a disciple of Christopher Elton.
The C minor n.7 was played with great virtuosity.
The great bell like melody in the bass was admirable shaped as Rachmaninov spread his magic web over the whole keyboard.
A good preparation for the 7th Sonata op 83 by Prokoviev.
The second of the so called “ war sonatas” 6,7 and 8.
The seventh written in a particularly stressful time with the Stalinist regime.
Having just written a work to celebrate Stalin’s 60th birthday he embarked on this Sonata for which he was awarded the Stalin Prize (second class) much to his surprise.
The first performance was given by Sviatoslav Richter in 1943 and after the work “ Cheers” or “Hail to Stalin” in 1940 Prokofiev started work on the “war sonatas” that contain some of his most dissonant music for piano.
Throwing herself into the fray this waif like young musician was able to produce some fierce and arresting sounds with all the rhythmic energy that Prokofiev demands.
The relentless momentum of the last movement was received with cheers from an audience that had been seduced by the energy and technical command of Hai Zi Yoh.
The hidden message of Prokofiev in the Andante caloroso was beautifully shaped and infact was taken from Liederkreis by Schumann…his song Wehmut – sadness ……..whose words Stalin was obviously unaware!
”I can sometimes sing as if I were glad yet secretly tears well and so free my heart.Nightingales sing their song of longing from their dungeon’s depth,everyone delights,yet no one feels the pain, the deep sorrow in the song.”
A short recital in which Hao Zi Yoh had been able to show us the three totally different worlds of Mozart ,Rachmaninov and Prokofiev.
A rather bright Steinway did not yield the same colours as Beechams old Broadwood that I well remember from a few years back (it is now housed in St Lawrence Jewry).
But it did give us the chance to appreciate to the full the complete technical command of the keyboard and intelligent musicianship of Hao Zi Yoh.
No encores were possible after such a dynamic performance of Prokofiev and she was greeted by many friends and admirers afterwards that included the founders of the Keyboard Charitable Trust for which she has recently been selected to play.

Receiving flowers from an admirer
Completing this exhilarating morning in London with the exhibition:: Gainsborough’s Family Album at the National Portrait Gallery.
What an amazing place London is!

Noretta Conci Leech and John Leech with Hao Zi Yoh


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