Sinae Sung and Jianing Ng -viva Santa Cecilia- patron Saint of music with Yulia Chaplina,Thomas Kelly and Andras Schiff with the Philharmonia Orchestra .

Sinae Sung and Jianing Ng

An exhausting two days for two remarkable young pianists recently graduated with Masters Degrees from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.
Thanks to the indefatigable Yulia Chaplina who had lined up a series of concerts for these extraordinarily talented young pianists together with a Masterclass with their remarkable teacher Aaron Shorr.

A masterclass at the Coachhouse piano stable in the Kings Road.
A true oasis for pianists with its amazing array of pianos from the greatest German makes to the most remarkable modern instruments from Japan.
I had only been able to admire Sinae Sung from South Korea and Jianing Ng from Singapore,though,at Goldsmiths Rush Hour concert series in Deptford Town Hall.

Deptford Town Hall – Goldsmiths College University of London

A noble edifice from another era now sitting in a very vibrant multi ethnic part of South London.
Truly from another age but with its superb Steinway D where I remember the Liszt Society used to hold their annual meeting and competition.

Yulia Chaplina and Thomas Kelly

But first stop today was at the Coachhouse for a private play through of Rachmaninov’s Second Concerto with indomitable Yulia Chaplina at the helm with that Berlin Philharmonic of orchestras kept within the noble fingers of Thomas Kelly,recent finalist at the Leeds International Piano Competition.
In fact it was again the unstoppable Yulia who had made a documentary about the competition which had opened the doors of the Coachhouse to her and allowed her to get to know and admire the notable artistry of Thomas Kelly.
A scintillating display of transcendental piano playing from Yulia on the wonderfully resonant Bosendorfer Imperial Grand and a suitably passionate Thomas Kelly on a Steinway B imitating and even matching the rich velvet sounds of Rachmaninov’s much loved Philadelphia orchestra.

Thomas Kelly enjoying every minute of these sumptuous sounds they were creating together

The ravishing beauty of Thomas’s clarinet was something to marvel at as it was enveloped in Yulia’s golden web of sounds.
Amazing virtuosity from Yulia and in the last movement her passionate transcendental involvement was only matched by the polyphonic playing of her orchestra.
The final Hollywoodian climax had all the other wonderful instruments -Steinway,Shegaru Kwai,Yamaha,Fazioli,Steingraber and all – looking on with envy as they too would have liked to be ravished and caressed by our two young virtuosi.
Lucky Philharmonic of the Isle of Man with whom Yulia is playing on Sunday!

Yulia Chaplina with her mentor Dmitri Alexeev

Jianing Ng had also played Rachmaninov with his second sonata (1931) rediscovered by Horowitz and presented to an astonished world during his come back recitals of the 70’s.

Jianing Ng taking us by storm with Rachmaninov’s 2nd Sonata

This delicate looking young musician revealed a powerhouse of passion and rich sumptuous sounds.An amazing range of colour too,from the most delicate and luminous cantabile to the enormous sounds of a full orchestra. Some amazing feats of virtuosity but all scrupulously within the architectural framework of this now over popular rhapsodic work.
Sinae Sung played Lyadov’s Variations on a Polish Folk Theme op 51 with a stream of golden sounds in the style and delicacy of another age.A scintillating display of wondrous playing.From the charm,delicate staccato and jeux perlé to a beautiful mellifluous legato played with such natural flowing sounds of great musical intelligence.

Sinae Sung ravishing us with Lyadov and Henselt

The Ballade op 31 by Adolf von Henselt was a real discovery being a real cross between Mendelssohn and Liszt. He was born May 9, 1814 in Schwabach, Bavaria and died Oct. 10, 1889, Warmbrunn, Silesia, Germany.He was a pianist and composer, considered to be one of the greatest virtuosi of his time having studied piano with Johann Hummel in Weimar.The only piece of his that I know is the encore that Rachmaninov used to play ‘Si oiseau j’etais’ .Here today in this Ballade op 31 the beautiful opening melody was played with a superb sense of balance with a passionate outpouring of romantic sounds. A tumultuous climax led to an ending of breathtakingly subtle virtuosity.
I am sure we will be hearing a lot more from these highly gifted young artists and compliments must surely go to the RCS ready to share their wonderfully trained musicians and eclectic choice of repertoire to a discerning world that awaits.

This world of Henselt had me researching the enormous amount of his compositions that are still never given an airing in the modern day concert hall . Repertoire that could do with just such an injection of new blood.To some ears, Henselt’s playing combined Franz Liszt’s sonority with Hummel’s smoothness. It was full of poetry, remarkable for his use of extended chords and technique.
His cantabile playing was highly regarded too: “Find out the secret of Henselt’s hands,” Liszt told his pupils.
Once he commented on the lengths Henselt took to achieve his famous legato, saying, “I could have had velvet paws like that if I had wanted to.” Henselt’s influence on the next generation of Russian pianists was immense and his playing and teaching greatly influenced the Russian school of music, developing from seeds planted by John Field.
Sergei Rachmaninoff held him in very great esteem, and considered him one of his most important influences.
Henselt excelled in his own works and in those of Weber and Chopin. His Piano Concerto in F minor, Op. 16 was once frequently played in Europe, and of his many valuable studies the Étude in F-sharp major ‘Si oiseau j’étais’ was very popular and there is a famous recording from the hands of Rachmaninov himself.At one time Henselt was second to Anton Rubinstein in the direction of the Saint Petersburg Conservatory.
However, despite his relatively long life, Henselt ceased nearly all composition by the age of thirty and his chronic stage fright, bordering on paranoia, caused him to withdraw from concert appearances by the age of thirty-three.I see an extended list of works starting with op 1 Variations on ‘Io son’ ricco’ from Donizetti’s ‘L’elisir d’amore’ through variations on a theme by Meyerbeer op 11,the concerto op 16,a cadenza for Beethoven’s 3rd Concerto,Concert studies ,Nocturnes,Scherzi.Impromptus and much more besides!

Rush Hour Concert programme

Our two young pianist dashed off after this rush hour concert to perform yet again,thanks to Yulia,in another venue in the centre of town.Steeped as they are in an almost lost tradition of piano playing that has much more to do with charm and colour than the speed mongering that too many wizz kids prefer these days.Hats off to Yulia Chaplina for generously sharing her discoveries with us whilst giving magnificent performances herself.

And so to the final concert this evening that,just by chance,I happened to notice passing by the Festival Hall on my way home.
Andras Schiff at the helm of the Philharmonia orchestra playing and conducting an all Mozart programme.
Kapellmeister Schiff ,par excellence,as he shared his infectious love of music with us all last night.Pouncing on the keyboard of his modern Steinway in K.291 with all the ‘Jeunehomme’ energy of one genius talking through another.A continual outpouring of glorious music making and the visibly noticeable total participation of every component of this magnificent complex led by a totally involved concert master,Benjamin Marquise Gilmore.
Schiff or should I say Mozart shed a spell over us all.
The dark brooding of the D minor Concerto K 466 with the suitably gruff Beethoven cadenzas was paired with the two earth shaking chords of the opening of Mozart’s chilling Don Giovani overture.

A wonderfully characterised ‘Linz’Symphony saw Schiff on the podium alone without his piano or score as he became an indispensable coordinator and instigator to this glorious group of musicians.
But in the end it was Schiff alone at the piano surrounded by his valiant ‘campagni di viaggio’ that sublime heights were reached.The simplicity and humility with which the Adagio from Mozart Sonata K.570 just poured so naturally out of him reached every one of us lucky to be present.

Cheers and a standing ovation were just a way of letting off steam after the extreme tension of love and beauty that had been shared with us all.
Viva Santa Cecilia,the patron Saint of music whose birthday will be three days hence.

The delightful duo Sinae Sung and Jianing Ng


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