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2015年6月21日 星期日

Yuja Wang Triptych 3-Brahms (王羽佳三連幅之三--布拉姆斯)

Time flies. Before you know it, it's Yuja Wang's last concert in her triptych last night. On this occasion, she played another concerto, Brahm's (1833-1897) Piano Concerto No. 2 in Bb, Op .83, a massive concerto lasting some 50 minutes, more like a symphony than a concerto which he took three years to write (1878-1881) after a break of some 22 years from his first. It's revolutionized the genre. Instead of having the usual three movements as in the classical tradition, it got 4 movements: Allegro non troppo (B-flat major),  Allegro appassionato (D minor),  Andante (B-flat major), Allegretto grazioso (B-flat major). All the movements in Bb except the second ends with a forceful bang. It's a piano concerto full of passion, power and huge dynamic contrasts, explosive and quiet contemplative passages where the orchestra constantly dialogues with the solo piano with now one taking control and now the other and in the climax both together.  It requires perfect co-ordination between the solo piano and the orchestra. One seems to hear in that great second movement shadows of a future Tchaikovsky or a future Rachmaninoff. Yuja Wang was superb. I came with great expectations. I came away more than satisfied. Yuja Wang delivers not only the power and the passion, but also the subtler nuances in the quieter passages. No wonder all the great orchestras of the world are going after her.

No encore this time. I think I know why. It's an extremely taxing concerto. She only got a bit of relief in the 3rd movement when the movement with the cellos and strings come in to deliver a tranquil, quiet and incredibly beautiful melody of joy and contentment.
Michael Bamping too played the cello with a great deal of feeling and extremely well. In the brief lilting and delightful fourth movement,  she is called upon alternate between strong and light passages and to pack it in all her physical strength again in the finale. 



The second half of the second are both French impressionist symphonic poems :  Debussy's La Mer  with 3 tableaux viz. De l'aube a midi sur la mer (from dawn to midday over the sea), Jeux de vagues (play of waves) and Dialogue du vent et de la mer (conversation of wind and sea originally called "Le vent fait danser la mer" meaning the wind makes the sea dance ) and Ravel's Boléro. Both of them involve extremely subtle changes in tonalities and volume to create the relevant movements and moods of the wind, the waves, the storm in the former or a simple motif endlessly repeated to simulate the undulating rhythms of the sand dunes in the latter.  I enjoyed  the first part of the concert much more than the second. Somehow, the sound of the individual sections in Ravel's piece when it was their turn to take centre stage was a bit too loud and the sense of gradual building up to the finale could have been done much better. Maybe I'm wrong in my impressions but that's how it felt to me.