REVIEW / CONCERT
RHAPSODIES OF SPRING 2018: HOME FOR THE NEW YEAR
Singapore Chinese Orchestra
Singapore Conference Hall
The first music to be heard on the newly renovated Singapore Conference Hall auditorium was Li Huan Zhi’s Spring Festival Overture, offering a rousing begin to the Singapore Chinese Orchestra’s (SCO’s) annual Chinese New Year concert.
The venue’s acoustics had been as soon as thought-about over-dry, under-reverberant and requiring audio enhancement, however these criticisms must be issues of the previous.
There is now a naturalness to the symphonic sound, such that instrumental particulars are higher outlined, relatively than submerged beneath unnatural echoes and synthetic augmentations.
However, listening to higher sound doesn’t essentially translate into listening to higher music, as this populist programme proved.
Chinese violinist Lu Siqing was visitor soloist, opening with Eric Watson’s idiomatic association of Vivaldi’s Spring from The Four Seasons. This was the identical piece performed by Joshua Bell in his well-known SCO collaboration in 2016 and it sounded simply nearly as good this time, because of Lu’s innate musicality, virtuosity and sympathetic orchestral accompaniment.
He was additionally soloist in two brief concertante works carrying the imprimatur of Chen Gang, the better-known half within the composing duo of the Liang Zhu Concerto. Basking in his luxurious sound and Phoon Yew Tien’s lush orchestrations can be ample reward.
But who dreamt of such titles as Golden Platform Of The Steel-Smelting Furnace or Taking The Tiger Mountain By Strategy? It appeared extra like a wedding between socialist realism and the Butterfly Lovers.
The finest music got here from Kuan Nai Chung and Law Wai Lun. Kuan’s Instrumental Guide To The Chinese Orchestra was the superb Chinese answer to Benjamin Britten’s Young Person’s Guide To The Orchestra. Its principal theme, Molihua, was topic to variations from all the standard Chinese devices and aided by a witty and infrequently mischievous narration by native tv character and comic Mark Lee.
Law’s extremely evocative rating accompanied the brief 2011 movie The Reunion Dinner by award-winning director Anthony Chen of Ilo Ilo fame. Nostalgia reigned supreme on this piece which espoused filial piety, household values and the great outdated days of not worrying about talking in Hokkien.
As the Chinese zodiac counted all the way down to the Year of the Dog, there needed to be canine-related items. Eric Watson’s medley of Gershwin’s Promenade (often known as Walking The Dog) and the Patti Page traditional How Much Is That Doggy In The Window? with winds simulating yelps from mutts was camp past phrases.
Increasingly resembling a tv selection present, the concert got here near descending into farce with the Chinese New Year songs and vocal/rap numbers penned by the likes of Jack Neo, Kenn C and Lee. Lee was at finest a crooner whereas his in any other case ready co-host Chen Biyu tended to scream out the excessive registers.
The lyrics extolled wealth and prosperity, however Sinophone audiences are parsimonious in sing-alongs. Still, do have a contented new yr.