Different moods from a trio of pianists

REVIEW / CONCERT

SOLO PIANO RECITALS

See Ning Hui (Aug 7)

Yap Sin Yee ( Aug 8)

Clarisse Teo (Sunday)

Esplanade Recital Studio

This summer's solo piano recitals featuring local pianists were performed by young women. This should come as no surprise since some of history's great pianists included Clara Schumann, Wanda Landowska, Myra Hess and Martha Argerich.

The two recitals by See Ning Hui and Yap Sin Yee were part of Allure, a mini-piano festival presented by the Kris Foundation.

London-based Singaporean pianist See displayed a mastery of six composers of different eras and styles. She opened with a slick account of Chopin's Second Scherzo, revealing a pearly tone with sharp contours smoothened over.

While her advocacy of living composers, Korean Unsuk Chin (Etude No. 6 "Grains") and Briton Thomas Ades (Darknesse Visible), was spirited and admirable, it was her juxtaposition of Sonatas by husband-and-wife team Robert and Clara Schumann which sealed the deal.

Both cast in G minor, Clara's salon-like charm and Robert's blistering passion were the toast of the evening's offerings.

Boston-based Malaysian pianist Yap won first prize in the 2013 National Piano Competition while at the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory.

Her programme was entirely Romantic, beginning with Debussy's Etude No. 11 as a crystalline icebreaker. A chronological history of the sonata form followed.

Beethoven's late Sonata No. 30 In E Major (Op. 109) revelled in abrupt changes in dynamics and mood with the central movement's outburst as a focal point.

The Theme and Variations of the final movement were beautifully shaped, with the noble return of its lovely sarabande subject.

Robert Schumann's three-movement Fantasy In C Major (Op. 17) was a statement of love which received a most passionate response.

Clarisse Teo's recital consisted wholly of rarities or works unlikely to be heard at a conventional concert.

She is a law graduate who decided to pursue music full time at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in Glasgow.

Her performance of Frenchman Vincent d'Indy's Theme Varie, Fugue Et Chanson and Soviet composer Anatoly Alexandrov's psychedelic Fourth Sonata displayed total confidence and a fearless disregard for their technical complexities, while making this arcane music sound fresh and natural.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 15, 2018, with the headline 'Different moods from a trio of pianists'. Print Edition | Subscribe