Concert Review: Pianist Ching-Yun Hu, Presented by GetClassical in School (NYC, 19 Nov 2019)
GetClassical in School is an ambitious new initiative to bring accomplished professional classical musicians into schools, exposing students to an art form many of them may have no other opportunity to experience. The program marked its kickoff with a concert November 19 by Taiwanese-American pianist Ching-Yun Hu, one of the first virtuosi to participate. Before her concert Hu spoke warmly of her recent experience speaking to and performing for the youngsters. If she is representative of the quality of talent GetClassical in School’s founder Ilona Oltuski is recruiting (see the website for the full and impressive list of artists who have declared interest), her concert augurs well for the school effort. The location, the German Consulate in New York City, corresponds to Oltuski’s inspiration, an established German program called Rhapsody in School. The modest concert hall was packed as Hu opened a program that leaned toward the extravagant with a Liszt onslaught. She applied an elegant touch to the rippling pastoral ecstasies of “Les jeux d’eaux à la Villa d’Este,” showing mastery of the full romantic style the busy piece demands. Two Liszt transcriptions of Schubert songs followed, including the “Erlkönig,” which sounds like it requires superhuman effort: Are there more than two hands on the keyboard? The evidence of the eyes proved otherwise. Nobody was up there but Hu. While Liszt expanded on Schubert originals, contemporary composer Jeremy Gill contracts a Bach cantata, “Wie selig sind doch die,” galvanizing the music with explosive and chromatic attacks even as he transcribes the multipart original for piano. Hu’s beautiful New York premiere performance verged on the epic, the spirit of Bach calling out constantly from what proved to be an expansion within a contraction. The Gill piece was a standout in an evening of fine performances that continued with “Le festin d’Escope (Aesop’s Feast)” by Charles-Valentin Alkan. Hu delivered this set of trickster’s variations on a theme with gusto, taking obvious joy in its flashiness. Hu rounded out the set with Chopin’s Sonata No. 3. By that time I was not surprised to find she has a solid aesthetic feel for that composer’s colorful melodies, romantic pianistic bravado, and in-your-face key choices. (B-flat minor? Seriously?) She gave us lush color in the first movement; sparkling dexterity and a hint of fragility in the second; a transportive, beyond-lovely performance of gentle depth in the third; and rumbles and crashes of thunder brought out with joyous force in the finale. Altogether this was one of the finer Chopin performances I’ve heard in recent seasons. A brief onstage interview with Hu and Oltuski followed the concert. As the GetClassical in School website explains, the program’s “school-time experiences are not formal concerts, nor are they academic music lessons either. They are a direct experience as to how music moves you. Topics covered include: How does a musician achieve his/her/their instrumental skill? When is a performance considered successful? How can you understand the bigger context surrounding a performance choice?” Visits to schools from artists participating in GetClassical in School are free for both public and private schools, and GetClassical is seeking additional private sponsors for the program, which is currently operating in New York City and may expand to other locales. For more about GetClassical in School, and contact information if you’re a student or educator interested for your school, visit the website.
All Tchaikovsky program including breathtaking Piano Trio in A Minor and Concert Suite “The Nutcracker “ on Sunday December 9, 2018 at 3 pmPresented by Sparkill Concert Series and GetClassical, “In Memory of a Great Artist” an all Tchaikovsky program is a wonderful holiday treat for music lovers. The program features pianist Vassily Primakov, violinist Filip Pogády, cellist Yves Dharamraj, and guest artists, Oxana Mikhailoff and Asiya Korepanova. Korepanova will also display her original artwork – a collection of 18 drawings – inspired by the pieces that make up Tchaikovsky’s Op.72. While no-one can imagine Winter Holiday time without the eternal music from the Nutcracker, the rest of the program is a thought-provoking and serious compositions perfectly fitting for the concert in memory a beloved composer. The truly international group of musicians assembled for this concert is a testimony of the universal power of great music and of Tchaikovsky’s enormous contribution to this art genre.
Asiya Korepanova is a triple threat. On December 9, she will show her 18 drawings inspired by Tchaikovsky’s Eighteen Pieces, Op. 72, for the first time. A collection of her 18 poems will accompany each drawing. She also shares the stage, performing excerpts from Tchaikovsky’s large-scale work. https://www.getclassical.org/pianist-asiya-korepanova-artistic-force-and-creative-incubator/ #weloveclassicalmusic #classicalmusic #newyorknewyork
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Ilona Oltuski offers an in-depth feature of The Brandenburg Duets on GetClassical.org:
“A new score for the concerto, geared to the baroque polyphony, with typically four, clearly distinguishable voices, demanded some omissions of the many clusters of voices, to gain more clarity. The Freiburg Baroque Orchestra’s ‘chamber’ sound, served as point of reference for Bindman’s newly textured hierarchy of the voices in its finalized newly achieved version, which projects clarity, while honoring the elegance of the original score. The translation of a concerto score for two pianists always bears the complexity of rivalry, of two instruments of the same sonority. It is much less of an intricate task to distinguish differing instruments. So to introduce a more variant sound production within a two-piano version, Bindman wrote differing expressive lines for both players. Particular modifications of the two- piano repertoire, like crossing hands, makes for an interesting audible vitality of blending and differentiating voices, while using the modern piano’s full range of a pianistic orchestration. In order to achieve a full and interesting sounding score, Bindman did not hesitate to lose some of the original score’s rudiments. She also decided to modify certain sequences, based on their key settings and harmonic ranges, in order to enhance the overall listening experience. The result adds greatly to the two-piano repertoire, which thrives as a four-hand performance –no orchestra necessary.”See the full feature on GetClassical.org