Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Yundi's brilliant Chopin at the Festival Hall

Yundi taking a selfie at the Restaurant
I have better pictures but they aren't uploaded yet.
Last night to the Festival Hall for our friend Yundi's brilliant concert.  What a delight!

In the first half he gave us the 4 Ballades, in performances of extraordinary - indeed breathtaking - sensitivity and musicianship. He played them, not at all "virtuoso pieces" to be belted out at top speed, but as profound meditations and journeys. The remarkable layering and contrapuntal nature of these pieces was so clearly brought out, and there was also a phenomenal ability to convey the overall structure and movement of the pieces.

Each piece was rapturously recieved by the audience - which included over 100 people seated on the stage!

The second half was the complete set of Preludes, played without a break. As the programme notes indicate, this was not how Chopin ever performed them. They go through all the major and minor keys and are clearly intended in some sense as a homage to Chopin's beloved Bach. but of course they go in a different order by going from the major to the relative minor. Shostakovich in his Preludes and Fugues adopts the same scheme, but of course adds fugues as well. Chopin only composed one original fugue which was unpublished.  This complete set gave a large scale structure on top of the beautiful execution of the individual numbers.

Afterwards we went backstage and then Yundi had to do interviews and sign about 400 records for adoring fans. It wasn't until nearly 11:30 that we met up for dinner in an excellent Chinese restaurant which had been kept open 1 hour after the kitchen closed for our party.

Yundi is touring Europe - playing in Dublin tomorrow I believe. Catch him if you can!

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