Homepage List A Concert of Irresistible Sensuous Rachmaninov

12. A Concert of Irresistible Sensuous Rachmaninov

Yesterday's concert of Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra performing an all Rachmaninov programme at the Concert Hall of Hong Kong Cultural Centre was a real enjoyment of life. It included Rachmaninov's Third Piano Concerto in D Minor, Op 30 and Second Symphony in E Minor, Op 27, with the Korean Joyce Yang as the piano soloist and Edo de Waart, the Artistic Director and Chief Conductor of Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra, as the conductor.

Though not as popular as his Second Piano Concerto Rachmaninov's Third Piano Concerto contains no less charm and beauty than the Second and allows plentiful opportunities for full demonstration of the pianist's virtuosity. The incredible Joyce Yang played the piano in such a brilliantly skilful way turning every audience completely awed with surprise. The orchestra also did its task properly by intertwining smoothly with the piano. As the concerto ended the audience burst into enthusiastic applause and Joyce Yang, in satisfying the appeal of the audience for an encore, played a short piano piece of Robert Schumann.

The exceptional professional competence of Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra was fully demonstrated in the second part of the concert in the performance of Rachmaninov's Second Symphony. A melancholic sensation was almost prevailing throughout the whole symphony and the music sometimes seemed murmuring like the smooth running water of a brook. Different sections of the orchestra released notes which were harmoniously intertwining with one another producing an indescribable overwhelming atmosphere. The frequent appearances of the solos of one of the clarinets were sheer breathtaking charm. The slow third movement of the symphony was especially exceptionally beautiful, occasionally with the solo clarinet passages soaring over the orchestra here and there.

Rachmaninov's Second Symphony is indisputably one of the masterpieces of Russian symphonies and the interpretation of it by Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra in this concert must also be indisputably a great success.

(Written on February 23, 2009)