Hin-Yat Tsang for the Keyboard Charitable Trust at Steinway Hall
Hin-Yat Tsang at Steinway Hall in London tonight. Some wonderful performances from Albeniz to Bizet taking in Scriabin,Barber and Schumann.
It was fifty years ago that as a first year student at the Royal Academy I would practise there in the evenings hardly able to believe my luck to be there too and to be surrounded by people that loved music as much as I did.
There were some regulars who used to practise almost as much as me and one of these was Eleanor Wong who together with her sister Linda would be there every evening too.
Eleanor a final year student of that remarkable and versatile musician Freddie Jackson who some years later died whilst conducting the Verdi Requiem in the Dukes Hall……what a way to go for a wonderfully dedicated musician.
Eleanor would often knock on my door and ask if she could try out her programmes for up and coming performances in concert and competitions (she won the silver medal at Vercelli) Having just started at the RAM and not used to hearing such fine playing I was bowled over with just the right enthusiasm that helped her in her quest to prepare .
Linda her sister too,a student of another very fine sensitive musician , Max Pirani ,would often play too .
Two Wongs don’t make a right Gordon Green would affectionately quip!
Not in this case for sure .For both were remarkably talented with that inner energy that only comes from real passionate involvement and dedication
All this to say that Eleanor is now founder of the prestigious Hong Kong International Piano Competition with musicians of the calibre of Peter Frankl,Bryce Morrison,Vladimir Ashkenazy and Peter Donohoe on the jury.
She herself is often to be seen on the juries of International Competitions and was last seen on the Leeds Competition of Dame Fanny Waterman (who coincidentally had her 97th birthday today too)
Eleanor Wong has built up an enviable reputation for spotting and training great young talent some of whom then go on from Hong Kong to perfect their considerable talent at colleges in London as she herself had done all those years ago.
Just such a case is Hin-Yat Tsang who has just graduated with honours from the class of Dmitri Alexeev (coincidentally winner of the Leeds Piano Competition in the 70’s)at the Royal College of Music. Now continuing his studies in Berlin with Klaus Hellwig this youngman ,only in his early twenties, will be flying off, after his recital for the Keyboard Charitable Trust , to Barcellona to compete in an International Piano Competition himself.
I could not help but notice many traits of his teacher who had so impressed a young student fifty years ago.
The same inner fire that seems when he is at the piano to exclude all else with his total concentration and involvement with the music.
Even the way he holds his hands and the stillness of his body whilst expressing with discrete facial expressions the varying moods that he is experiencing in the music.
The very complex Humoreske by Schumann `was given a totally convincing performance held strictly under a tight reign but allowing at the same time the music to move and breathe naturally.
Andras Schiff had noted just this in the masterclasses at the RAM where he was very impressed and inspired by Hin Yats interpretation as indeed the audience including some very distinguished musicians at Steinway Hall were witness today.( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RdqiQ9VQxrE.)
A nocturne “Homage to John Field” op.33 by Samuel Barber together with his encore of a “Song without words” by Bizet just showed what an inquisitive and informed musician Hin-Yat Tsang is.
The Barber full of the “fioriture ” as in Chopin or Field but translated into the twentieth century sound world of Barber of some quite transcendental difficulty.Thrown off with all the colour and seeming simplicity of art that belies art.
The Bizet was given an aristocratically suave typically french nobility with all the charm that could have been almost of a Chaminade or Poulenc.
Bryce Morrison tells me that Glen Gould, that inquisitive genius ,was the last person that surprisingly he had heard treading these waters.
El Puerto by Albeniz that opened the programme again was given a musicians performance with strong rhythms and sense of line that did not allow these spanish folk idioms to descend into sentimentality.
On the contrary as Alicia De Larrocha has taught us over the years the real passion and tension lies in the rhythm and colours that need only to be played with a simplicity that allows the story within to be revealed in all it moving majesty.
Scriabin’s Sonata Fantasy played with some real technical mastery where the musical line was always allowed to appear and disappear in between the typically virtuosistic spider like figurations that are so much part of this early Scriabin .
All the youthful preparation that had been lain so solidly by Eleanor were now at the service of the music from this remarkable young pianist who we wish well in his undoubted successes on the International circuit.
Present in the hall were the founders of the Keyboard Trust Noretta Conci-Leech and her husband John Leech.
Hats off to them for founding this Trust whose sole aim is to help remarkable young talents such as on display tonight to find a public with which to share their exceptional performances.
For they know that it is only by playing regularly in public that these young musicians that have dedicated their youth to studying the piano can progress and learn to fly to heights that not even they could imagine.