Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Yundi on great form at the Festival Hall

To the Festival Hall last night to hear our friend Yundi's London recital. He started with the Schumann C Major Fantasie which is one of my all-time favourite pieces. I have explored, rather than played, the first two movements but can play the third tolerably well. Yundi's performance was both thrilling and fascinating. He brought out many aspects of the piece that I hadn't considered at all - and also made one conscious of the fact that it was written for Clara and (I presume) first performed by her.

We then had the Liszt "Tarantella, Venezia e Napoli" - a piece I didn't know at all played with great virtuosity - as befits Liszt - but also with the delightful filigrees brought out with great delight and finesse.  After the interval we had some piano arrangements of Chinese folk songs which delighted the (largely Chinese) audience. 

Then we were treated to the Appassionata. This is by no means my faviourite Beethoven Sonata but again a wonderful performance which brought out the intruiging sonorities and cross-currents. Nevertheless I cannot help feeling that the Schumann is an even finer piece - which goes to show that you can't grade composers in any simplistic way, and reminds me once more what a great composer Schumann was. 

There were tremendous applause and three curtain calls but Yundi was evidently very tired having only recently arrived from Beijing so alas no encore.

We then went backstage with our 4 guests (+ 3 of us) and it was great to see Yundi who chatted and posed for photos. He was then video-interviewed by the main Chinese News Agency and had to rush to sign records for the hundreds of ardent fans. The agency then interviewed me and one of our distingushed guests.  We were all rather tired so two of our guests (one of whom had arrived from Beijing that day) went home and we had a very light supper with the other two - a delightful couple who it was great to get to know better.  Just as we were going home we got a call saying that Yundi and entourage were having dinner in Chinatown and could we join them. I went along for a bit and would gladly have stayed longer but had to be up early the following morning.

It was great to see Yundi - catch the rest of his European tour if you can!

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