Kristian Chong – Piano
Saturday 27th April 2019, 7.45pm
KRISTIAN CHONG’S TOUR DE FORCE.
In its second concert for 2019 on Saturday, 27th April, sponsored by the Holmes Family, the Yass Music Club was delighted to present a piano recital by Kristian Chong, who had previously played in Yass when he accompanied Teddy Tahu Rhodes during our 2018 Sapphire Jubilee Series.
Kristian chose a most challenging selection of wonderful pieces and the recital began with Franz Schubert’s great “Sonata in B flat major D960”. Schubert wrote this piece in the last year of his life, when he probably knew he was dying. It is a long work in four movements which, as Kristian says in the notes he provided for us, show “Schubert’s miraculous ability to bare his soul without a trace of narcissism – a combined result of his humility, universality and an exquisite awareness of either”. Our Steinway sang with the passion and power which Kristian commanded of it and the listening experience was a rich one, indeed.
At interval, a delicious supper was provided by the Hospital Auxiliary and Sam Bucknell of Yass Rotary presented a RAG Holmes Scholarship to Geena Elliot and mention was made of the Scholars’ Gold Coin Concert later in the year. The CD raffle, donated by Ann Holmes, was won by Pam Behnke.
Kristian began the second half of the recital with Johannes Brahms’ “Variations on an Original Theme Op 21 No1” and Kristian notes that this sonata was composed by Brahms using a set of variations with a completely original theme he specially composed for the work. As Kristian notes, the original theme “is so beautiful that the subsequent variations can be something of an anticlimax”. Kristian gave a cogent explanation of the piece and the music flowed with inspiration.
Franz Liszt’s “Sonata in B minor” concluded the program and is the only work written by Liszt as a sonata and which Kristian described as creating the “impression of a free, unbridled fantasia, virtually an improvisation, presenting three powerful themes”. It is said that no other work of Liszt has attracted anything like the amount of scholarly attention as this Sonata and the number of divergent theories it has provoked, from those of its admirers who feel constrained to search for forbidden meanings, are many. The sonata unfolds in approximately 30 minutes of unbroken music and grows in power and intensity as it proceeds. Kristian comments that the work remains an enduring masterpiece even to those who find Liszt’s music overblown”. I don’t believe that the audience had this feeling, at all, as Kristian played it with such artistic passion.
Kristian received a much deserved standing ovation and our President presented him with a piece of Crisp glass as memento of our appreciation for the extraordinary performance to which he’d treated us.
The concert wasn’t over yet, however, for as a special favour, Kristian generously treated us to an additional delightful piece by Mozart , his “Fantasie in D minor K397”.
It was most gracious of him as he must have been exhausted with the previous pieces that he’d played and it was very much appreciated as the conclusion to a wondrous recital.
Our next concert is on Sunday, 16th June at 2.00pm, when we’ll be presenting The Penny Quartet.
Brian Millett. 30/4/19. .
One of Australia’s leading pianists, Kristian Chong has performed throughout Australia and the UK, and in China, France, New Zealand, Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan, USA, and Zimbabwe. His wide-ranging performance schedule finds him equally at home as concerto soloist, chamber musician and recitalist.
As concerto soloist he has appeared with the Adelaide, Melbourne, Queensland, Sydney and Tasmanian Symphony Orchestras, and orchestras in the UK, New Zealand and China with conductors such as Werner Andreas Albert, Andrey Boreyko, Nicholas Braithwaite, Jessica Cottis, Fabian Russell, Roy Goodman, Sebastian Lang-Lessing, Nicholas Milton, Benjamin Northey, Tuomas Hannikainen, Marcus Stenz, Arvo Volmer and Marco Zuccarini.
Highlights have included Rachmaninoff 3rd with the Sydney Symphony, the Rachmaninoff Rhapsody on a theme by Paganini in Beijing and Canberra, and Britten with the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra. Recent concerto highlights include Shostakovich 2nd, Chopin 2nd, Rachmaninoff 3rd, Beethoven’s Emperor in Melbourne, Ravel’s Left Hand concerto in Melbourne (Australian Youth Orchestra) and Dunedin (Dunedin Symphony Orchestra) and Saint-Saëns 2nd concerto with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra.