PIANO POWER

Published on 29 May 2017

Be uplifted and illuminated as four internationally-renowned piano maestros celebrate the creativity of great piano composers at this year’s Singapore International Piano Festival.

By MELANIE LEE

1 JUNE 2017: JOSEPH MOOG

Credit: Thommy Mardo

HAYDN Fantasy in C major, Hob. XVII:4 /
CHOPIN Piano Sonata No. 2 in B-flat minor, Op. 35
DEBUSSY Etudes: Livre I.
LISZT Hungarian Rhapsody No. 12 in C-sharp minor
(arr. Joseph Moog) 

Moog was awarded Gramophone Young Artist of the Year 2015 and was also nominated for a Grammy for his recent concerto reading. This young German with a diverse concerto repertoire is known for his exquisite technical skill, as well as a mature and intelligent musicality.

2 JUNE 2017: WONG CHIYAN

Credit: S Lau

MOZART Fantasy in C minor, K.475
CHOPIN Piano Sonata No. 3 in B minor, Op. 58
BUSONI 5 Kurze Stücke, BV 296, V.
BUSONI An die Jugend, BV 254, III.
BUSONI Sonatina Seconda, BV 259
LISZT Réminiscences de Don Juan, S.418 

Wong, who hails from Hong Kong, has won several awards including the First Prize at the Jaques Samuel Pianos Intercollegiate Piano Competition in 2011. He is known as an original thoughtful musician who impresses audiences with the sincerity and sheer authority of his playing.

3 JUNE 2017: HÜSEYIN SERMET

Credit: Mat Hennek

MENDELSSOHN Fantasy in F-sharp minor, Op. 28 (Fantaisie Écossaise)
BEETHOVEN Piano Sonata No. 21 in C major, Op. 53 (Waldstein)
MUSSORGSKY Pictures at an Exhibition  

This illustrious Turkish piano and composer’s career spans over 30 years, with solo recitals worldwide and numerous recordings that have won major international prizes such as the MIDEM Classical award. Semet is highly-regarded in the music world for his pianistic versatility.

4 JUNE 2017: STEPHEN KOVACEVICH

Credit: Stephen Kovacevich

MENDELSSOHN Fantasy in F-sharp minor, Op. 28 (Fantaisie Écossaise)
BEETHOVEN Piano Sonata No. 21 in C major, Op. 53 (Waldstein)
MUSSORGSKY Pictures at an Exhibition 

This American classical pianist and composer is an admired musician known for his fearlessness in taking technical and musical risks to achieve maximum expressive impact. Kovacevich’s ONYX recording of Beethoven’s Diabelli Variation won him the 2009 Classic FM Gramophone Editor’s Choice Award and the ‘Top Choice’ by Gramophone Magazine in September 2015.

For a preview of their works:

THE BEGINNER’S GUIDE TO APPRECIATING A PIANO PERFORMANCE

Skill – The pianist’s fingers are like the workings of a precision watch – a multitude of parts moving together in a complex yet beautifully coordinated manner. The accuracy, consistency and speed takes your breath away.

Touch – The voice of a piano may seem heavy or light, refined or rough. When a pianist is “in touch” with his piano, it seems to obey his intentions, responding to every little movement of his fingers with love, expressiveness and subtlety of detail.

Tone – Does the piano light up the hall in welcome bright tones or is it harsh and angry? Does the pianist’s tone fit the music and how skilful is he transforming it from section to section within the same piece?

Interpretation – Does the pianist play a fast piece fast enough? Loud but maybe too loud? Does the entire piece seem like a unified whole? Did his expressiveness, skill, touch and tone come together to make you shed a tear or lift you from your seat?

Presence – The pianist and piano occupy a big physical space on the stage, but presence is beyond that. For a pianist with presence, his person, music-making, the hall’s acoustics and even the stage lighting can extend the music’s charm, energy and soul to the very ends of the hall.

Tips kindly provided by the Singapore Symphony Orchestra

The 24th Singapore International Piano Festival: Fantasies and Memories will be held at Victoria Concert Hall from 1-4 June 2017. Click here for more information.

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