SOMETIMES THE GREAT YOGA SOMETIMES SPEAKING IN TONGUES - YOGA SELECTS LIVE
HIM International Music
Fans who missed Taiwanese singer Yoga Lin's post-military service comeback gig at the Esplanade on Feb 3 will want to buy this release with a mouthful of a title. It is a collection of tunes from two of his tours, 2014's Speaking In Tongues and the ongoing The Great Yoga.
Several are covers that were also performed in Singapore, including a loose-limbed take on British band Blur's cheeky headbanger Song 2 and a persuasive version of singer-songwriter Sandee Chan's Useless Umbrella.
There is also plenty of material here that would be new to those who were at the Esplanade concert.
He covers the late Chang Yu-sheng's Missing You and singer-songwriter Cheer Chen's Little Dust, leaving his distinctive personal stamp on each interpretation.
His own hits get new leases of life with different arrangements, such as the use of the vocoder to give Runaway Mama more of an electro- dance feel.
Another surprise here is the English track, Never Been In Love Before, better known as the title song off his third album, Perfect Life (2011).
One of the more compelling live albums in recent memory.
A STATE OF WONDER AZARIAH TAN PLAYS CHOPIN
Strange as it may seem, this appears to be the first CD recording of Frederic Chopin's piano music by a Singaporean pianist.
Not even Melvyn Tan, Seow Yit Kin or Toh Chee Hung has attempted such a recital programme on disc.
The pianist is 25-year-old Azariah Tan, alumnus of the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music and University of Michigan, who was diagnosed with progressive sensorineural deafness at age four.
Despite the disadvantage, he is an utterly musical and sensitive soul, which is immediately apparent in the two Nocturnes Op. 62 and two shorter Preludes from Op. 28.
He finds song-like tenderness and underlying disquiet to equal degree and summons the passion needed for the Second Sonata (Op. 35), well known for its Funeral March slow movement.
If only there were a little more wildness alloyed to the good taste displayed, it would have been just right.
The Fourth Ballade (Op. 52) unfolds ever so alluringly, with its climaxes well judged. His view of the lyrical Berceuse is an epitome of grace and the recital is completed by the early showpiece, Andante Spianato Et Grande Polonaise Brillante (Op. 22), which is sleek and majestic without being overstated.
One hopes to hear more from this genuine and exciting talent.
Chang Tou Liang