10 June 2019
This was a little unexpected. A free recital of French and Russian music on a Saturday afternoon at Wesley. The pianist was Anthony Chen and the recital was in preparation for his entry in the Lev Vlassenko Piano Competition. I didn't know of it but it must be worthy: certainly it has a decent prize. The music was modern and wildly virtuosic: the French half ran from Cesar Franck of 1884 through to Shostakovich on 1952. It was interesting to hear the development amongst the French pieces, from Franck to Ravel (1902) to Debussy (1915): to my ears, from a baroque structure (Prelude, chorale and fugue) through to deep impressionism in Debussy. On the Russian side, from Scriabin (1903) through Rachmaninoff (1917) and Prokofiev (1942) to Shostakovich. Not such dense impressionism but plenty of dissonance and huge energy. Prokofiev amused me with some interesting descriptions for the movements of his Piano sonata no.7 Bb min op.83: 1 Allegro inquieto; 2 Andante caloroso; 3 Precipitato. As for Anthony, he did superb justice to a mammoth program and played from memory. I could only sit in awe at the skills displayed. So, anther pianist, if in a very different world: Herbie Hancock one night, Anthony Chen the next afternoon. I am floored.
Anthony Chen (piano) played Debussy, Ravel, Franck, Scriabin, Shostakovich, Rachmaninoff and Prokofiev at Wesley.