Nice Performers: Li-Wei Qin and Kristian Chong in Recital

On this sizzling summer season night time, a big and excited viewers got here to the Elisabeth Murdoch Corridor, not solely to have a good time the 13th anniversary of the Melbourne Recital Centre, however to lastly expertise a program which was postponed twice since 2020 and was finally opening the 2022 Nice Performers Collection. Hardly ever is there such a large age-range of attendees for a Tuesday night time efficiency in Melbourne, with households, many very younger music college students, skilled musicians and colleagues including a energetic buzz of anticipation and a variety of love for these two well-liked musicians on this marvellous venue. In his emotional welcoming deal with, Euan Murdoch highlighted the large success of the Centre’s Native Artist Attraction, an bold fund-raising marketing campaign that has raised 1,000,000 {dollars} to assist native artists.

So with many causes to have a good time being on the MRC, a really enthusiastic viewers was impatient to see the distinctive and sumptuous 1780 Guadagnini cello alongside the magnificent Steinway grand piano, tonight within the palms of two prestigious and extremely well-liked artists, in a world class live performance corridor.

Written in 1932, Samuel Barber’s Sonata for Cello and Piano in C main, Op 6 reveals the affect of Brahms with its critical tone, emotional depth and wealthy, low keyboard notes. Barber is without doubt one of the few composers who was a skilled classical singer, and this explains the pure Romantic lyricism and fervour on this work. However the opening bars of the primary motion confirmed us the important tonality of Barber’s resilient 20th Century parts which mirror the vitality and animation of Stravinsky, notably within the many difficult cross rhythms and lightning quick modifications of tempo. We had been rewarded with an immensely robust and particular person cello sound and a profound depth in low notes within the work’s opening tempestuous sequence of surging melodic leaps on each devices, which then melted instantly into tender and questioning lyrical fragments. On the finish of the primary motion the viewers was hushed and immobile, holding on to the spectacular energy and authority of those musicians.

A extra sombre heartfelt Adagio second motion developed into an sudden frolic, its fast exercise permitting Chong to attract a brand new glowing tone from the piano. The third motion – Allegro appassionata – offered a extra complicated construction, with fabulous surging higher tones growing in alternating solo themes, all delivered with a lot vibrancy and fervour on this refreshing and distinctive repertoire.

Each musicians have such a big vocabulary of tone and emotional expression, a heat connection and a refined musical relationship. In his solos Qin demonstrates a captivating showmanship. He enjoys the stage, the theatre, the reference to the viewers, and demonstrates each animated facial expressions and strong bodily motion when taking part in his cello in an expressive and interesting method.

The three-movement Sonata in A minor for Arpeggione & Pianoby Schubert introduced us the enjoyment of the composer’s lyricism in a captivating playoff of cello phrases echoed by the piano with beautiful punctuation and pleasant cadences.  Devoted tonight to the reminiscence and legacy of Dame Elisabeth Murdoch, the second motion Adagio gave us candy timbres, charming mild vocal strains, some fantastically understated piano accompaniment with delicate pianissimos, and contrasting verses of darkish, profound low pitches.

Schubert’s third motion Allegretto had all of the class, attraction, and pleasure one might hope for. Exhibiting completely synchronised musical colourations and phrasing, solely the very best musicians make tough passages look really easy, impressing us with technical brilliance on their devices whereas giving the viewers an abundance of expression and emotion.

The ultimate main work by Robert Schumann, Adagio and Allegro, Op 70, was described by Clara Schumann as “Simply the form of piece that I like – sensible, recent and passionate”. A prophetic name. This was a grand and shifting piece that includes inspiring lengthy tones on the cello with Chong’s completely synchronized buoyant and vibrant piano accompaniment. The numerous college students within the MRC would have been impressed by Qin’s skilled bowing methods, the various shades of color achieved in his vibrato taking part in, and the depth of passionate and flowing phrasing.

The viewers wouldn’t let these performers end there. Qin spoke warmly of the difficulties of being a musician with cancelled occasions, and his gratitude and hope to proceed sharing stay music. The important encore of each free verse and refrain of the mild basic ballad Someplace Over the Rainbow was a most touching addition. The lengthy applause introduced the 2 musicians again for a second encore, Elgar’s charming and idyllic Salut d’Amour.

Photograph courtesy Melbourne Recital Centre.


Julie McErlain reviewed Nice Performers: Li-Wei Qin & Kristian Chong in Recital, introduced on the Melbourne Recital Centre’s Elisabeth Murdoch Corridor on February 8, 2022.


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