REVIEW / CONCERT
Esplanade Recital Studio/Sunday
After a one-year hiatus, the crack string ensemble re:combine led by violinist Foo Say Ming returned with a vengeance, doing what it does finest – delivering nostalgia by the earful and extra.
Its 80-minute concert served up acquainted music, however wearing new garb, such that well-loved originals are considered by way of lenses of many alternative tints.
German-British composer Max Richter found himself successful in 2012 with The Four Seasons Recomposed, basically Antonio Vivaldi’s 4 hottest violin concertos introduced on top of things by way of a quasi-minimalist replace.
Without problems with copyright to fret about, all the unique actions have been reprised in sequence, however modified by highlighting sure themes whereas downplaying or excising others, altering harmonies and chord progressions, switching rhythms and even throwing in a brand new tune or two.
How Borodin’s Stranger In Paradise melody from Prince Igor sneaked into the third motion of Spring appeared a thriller.
Foo was in his component for the virtuosic solo half, which he commanded with consummate ease alongside main his gamers, who included a harpsichordist and harpist.
The sound they produced was luxurious for a comparatively small group. That its core members have been collectively for 12 years positively has one thing to do with that.
Winter threw up some surprises. Its gradual motion disbursed with the rhythmic accompaniment of falling snowflakes and a crackling fire. Instead, Foo’s solo was backed by string harmonics, which was bleakly ethereal. And the hypnotic minimalist final motion gave the sensation of “the end of times” a definitive sense of finality.
Arguably higher was the world premiere of younger native composer Julian Wong’s P. Ramlee Suite, which relived 9 of the Penang-born musical icon’s favorite songs in three actions.
The titular suite appeared nearly modest by title, because it was extra like a 20-minute symphony, given its classical type and structure. It was additionally devoted to Wong’s composition trainer Iskandar Ismail who, like Ramlee, died earlier than his time.
Wong gave a most eloquent preamble, offering quick sung passages in Malay which have been idiomatic and interesting.
The music that adopted was no much less enthralling, string sonorities multiplied manifold for spine-tingling impact, joined by percussionist Riduan Zalani with some genuine Malay drumming.
The first motion was a concertante showpiece for Foo, quoting songs reminiscent of Azizah and Jangan Tinggal Daku (Don’t Leave Me), whereas turning Malam Bulan Dipagar Bintang right into a Viennese waltz.
Erich Korngold’s Violin Concerto, which used his Hollywood film tunes, got here to thoughts.
The gradual motion luxuriated in Ramlee’s hottest music, Getaran Jiwa (Soul Vibration). With no solo to helm, Foo used each his bow and violin to direct, circumscribing vast arcs within the air.
The finale, which relived songs reminiscent of Senandung Malam (Night Serenade), was in rondo type and even included a brief fugue.
Climaxing with a virtuosic cadenza, a standing ovation greeted the work’s shut.
The encore was no shock: Getaran Jiwa, milked to the final teardrop.