Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Two Evenings At YSTCM

Friends took me out to spend two lovely evenings at Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music's (YSTCM) Concert Hall. Assumed someone had paid for tickets, so went to check online for the prices to ensure that I'd have enough cash to pay for mine. But I was surprised to learnt that both recitals were not ticketed. Free admission. I was a little puzzled by the lack of registration required. What if...people suddenly turned up in droves and have to be turned away? It could possibly happen for one out of the two I attended. Anyway, attendance for both recitals were all right at the 600-seat Concert Hall. The stalls were more or less filled.


Violin and Cello

Part of the Conservatory's Faculty Recital/Visiting Artist series, a 2-hour recital (with intermission) was held with visiting violinist Ning Feng and cellist Qin Li-Wei (current Head of Cello Studies at YSTCM). They played as a duo for most of the night, then for the last portion, were joined by Albert Tiu (current faculty member at YSTCM) on piano.

I know nothing about the violinist or the cellist, however, the friends were keen on the recital and dragged me along, knowing that I would be interested in the last segment with the piano for Mendelssohn's Piano Trio No.1 in D minor. That piece, I know. All four movements. I always enjoy Albert Tiu's playing. The duo on strings played Zoltán Kodály's Op.7, and Joseph-Maurice Ravel's sonata. Those, are like, you know, I know, but I don't know. You know? Heeeeeee.

Like the professional musicians they are, all three played their hearts out. What a performance. I thought the duo to be really brave to attempt Zoltán Kodály's Op.7. I do like the melancholic notes and construction of the score. It really harks back to his roots of Hungarian folk music, and I can totally imagine dancing to Op.7 around a bonfire. (Never mind witch trials that were all the rage then.)


You'll fall off the chair. I passed up tickets to Big Night Out at Fort Canning Park. Band of Horses! Me, somewhat indie kid. It's fine. We all make choices. I could join the other friends at Fort Canning for Yeah Yeah Yeahs, but never mind. I'd have missed Band of Horses already. That would be the one band I'd have liked to catch. Oh well.

Part of the Conservatory's Visiting Artist Series and 6th Singapore Chamber Music Festival, there was a recital by Shanghai Quartet with T'ang Quartet (in residence at YSTCM). I wanted to hear namely Shanghai Quartet, and watch T'ang Quartet play. :) Familiar pieces all: Beethoven's String Quartet No.2 in G major, Op. 18, No.2; Bartók's String Quartet No.4 (my favorite!); and Mendelssohn's Octet in E-flat major, Op.20.

Technically beautiful, both Quartets were absolutely competent. I'm fond of Bartók's String Quartet No.4. I like the scale units within the five moments. It's quite something to hear it on the consecutive night after listening to the Qin Li-Wei and Ning Feng's interpretation of Zoltán Kodály's Op.7. Finale piece of Mendelssohn's was brilliantly put together. Both Quartets met on stage, sat together and were so in sync. Ahhh...the beauty of an octet in its four movements.


Glad everyone made it for the performances. There's a cafe right outside the main entrance to the Conservatory Concert Hall that currently serves many zi char-ish dishes (think beef hor fun, sambal fish slices with rice, fried white bee hoon), and even freshly squeezed juices. Works great as a pre-concert bite, especially if we could be there at 6.40pm for a 7.30pm show. Food arrives fast.

Both evenings, we were all stuffed from dinner and didn't bother with supper or bar snacks, and simply went straight for a drink before splitting. Poor friends all coincidentally have got early start tomorrow at the office. be in before 7am. Awwwwww.

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