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Gala: Midori (Goh Keng Swee Memorial Concert)

April 27, 2011

I’ve always loved Russian classical music. I love its exuberance…so soulful, passionate and expressive.

And it was an all Russian programme on 23 April, with works by Rimsky-Korsakov, Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninov.

As it was also a Goh Keng Swee Memorial Concert, there was a special addition (Rachmaninov’s Vocalise) to the original programme to dedicate the concert to Dr. Goh, who was instrumental to the formation of the SSO as the founder. It’s been almost a year since he passed on and with that, the concert was opened.

Being Easter weekend, it was not a surprise that the Russian Easter Festival Overture was chosen. These two pieces were a fine lead-up to the feature of the day, Midori’s rendition of Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto in D major. I’ve heard a lot about Midori and was very expectant of what I would hear that night. And she did not disappoint.

Known for its technical demands, Midori tackled the concerto with great proficiency. Although I could only see her back view (I was sitting in the Gallery) from where I was, one can’t miss the precision and great control. Every note played had their own power in them and even the soft notes were clear and sharp, yet not overpowering. I literally held my breath whenever she was tackling such notes for fear of breaking the moment (ok, I might be exaggerating). On top of that, she plays with such feeling that it rings in our hearts. I especially loved the soulful second movement Canzonetta (Andante). Only thing was that I wished I could have seen her expression and a clearer view of her playing, and of course, being at the back, some of the sound projection would have been lost.
The encore, if I heard what she said correctly, was the Prelude (and Fugue?) to Sonata No. 1 in G minor by Johann Sebastian Bach (I’m very bad at recognising pieces). Nice.

Midori signing autographs during intermission

The second half of the concert heard the SSO playing Rachmaninov’s Symphony No. 3 in A minor. After the long earlier half (at least an hour), I felt it was a rather long piece for me that night. But I could hear the conflict between Rachmaninov’s nostalgia and bravado, as the programme notes suggested, as each theme was explored by the SSO consistently through the 3 movements. I liked the ending where “…in the end it is the mood of bravado which brings the Symphony to its exciting if slightly ambiguous conclusion”.

And so the concert ended around 10 pm.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Anonymous permalink
    June 10, 2011 10:08 pm

    I enjoyed it too!!! It was so good. I was sitting some where at the back, but nevertheless, i still had such a good time. Midori was fantastic. Tchaikovsky too. Thumbs up for the performance!

    • SSC permalink
      June 11, 2011 2:58 pm

      Totally. Midori is such a genius. I enjoyed the russian night out. I think it was really worth it.

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