An-Ting Chang's advance programme for today's lunchtime concert at Glenorchy (previous post on this blog) attracted unprecedented interest. "The Carnival of the Animals" was clearly going to be a tour de force of animal-themed excellence not to be missed.
|Les Jeux D'eaux À La Villa D'Est|
|Classical Collision 2014|
|Enrique Granados Campiña|
The familiar Minute Waltz took on new life, with the complex trills taking second place to the playful antics of the little doggie. Valdeck was even more audible, dislodging the music, mewing piteously, and even running up and down the keyboard. Skilfully done - and such fun!
|William Hanna & Joseph Barbera|
"Tom & Jerry" 1940
The 'main dish' of the recital was still to come, however.
The original was composed for an informal ensemble of student musicians, including two pianists, a xylophonist and glass armonica player. Modern interpretations may involve a whole string section, but the armonica is often replaced by a glockenspiel.
Specially for today's concert, An-Ting had prepared her own solo piano arrangement of an abridged selection from the original fourteen movements, omitting the Kangaroos, the Characters with Long Ears, and - unexpectedly - the Pianists. This left a magnificent cavalcade of beasts, however.
The Lion, the Hens & Roosters and the Asses were fantastically full of life and used the dynamics of the Venables to its full potential. The Tortoises were something else altogether - slowly and lugubriously performing Jacques Offenbach's Can-Can, so slowly indeed that one has to listen carefully to hear the dance rhythm at all.
The Elephants are ponderous and LOUD, but also capable of gentleness, the kind of contrast which An-Ting exploits to its full potential. The Aquarium ripples with mysterious silence - in the form of sound. So gentle and so sweet, a lovely interlude. The woodwind scales were cleverly replaced by glissandi on the piano.
Then came a very mysterious sound, quite confusing as it was not listed on the programme, but soon the distinctive voice of the cuckoo made all clear - a bonus movement! The Cuckoo was followed by all the birds of the Aviary, and then the familiar melody of Saint-Saëns earlier composition "Danse Macabre" composed twelve years earlier - but now resurrected as the Fossils. In An-Ting's hands those relics were gloriously re-animated, if anything they were even more lively than the live animals in the other movements!
The gentle but equally energetic Swan led into a magnificent Finale. With an impressive eye for the dramatic, An-Ting built on the energy and excitement right up until the final crescendo, closing to a tumult of adulation and applause. In a scene rarely witnessed at Glenorchy, everyone was standing and showing their appreciation as An-Ting made her curtain call.
What a show. David and Jill were utterly thrilled by the piano virtuosity of the new performer, as were the entire audience.
The best news of all is that Mike Gluyas was there to record the whole concert, and An-Ting took part in a short recorded interview after the performance. We can hear those recordings soon on the "Classical Journey". The album "Water Image" was also available at the venue - and we'll be enjoying tracks from that too.
|Kings Weston House|
The run will visit a series of art galleries across the country - to
|Kings Weston House|
An-Ting is very keen to perform in Devon again - anywhere that she can find a high quality grand piano. It won't be long before we get another chance to hear her wonderful music. Watch this space for details.
An-Ting Chang Concert Theatre
King's Weston House Bristol
Wednesday 26 April 7.30pm
Thursday 27 April 7.30pm
Director: An-Ting Chang
Piano: Diana Brekalo
Scriptwriter: Jessica Macdonald
A stage adaptation of Anne Brontë's
"The Tenant of Wildfell Hall"
for two actors accompanied by
Alexander Scriabin: 24 Preludes
W A Mozart: Sonata K. 378
Johannes Brahms: Rhapsody Op 79 No 2
Tickets: £12 (Concession £10)