Reeds and Strings | A Review of Ep. 3

 

What a treat it was to host returning finalists, saxophonist Michellina Chan and violinist Yebin Yoo. Both artists performed live from the Lady Marigold Southey Performance Studio for the third instalment of the finals for The Talent on October 25th.

Each performer chose to present two works. Michellina was first up on the program and was accompanied by two collaborative artists, saxophonist Alexis Seah and pianist Leigh Harrold. Yebin performed in the second half, and was also accompanied by Leigh.

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Michellina’s performance was a combination of unaccompanied solo and small ensemble music. Her first piece was the Australian premiere of Transition Sketches by Jay Ong, written for solo saxophone. Following this she was joined by Alexis and Leigh to perform Paganini Lost by Jun Nagao, a work for two saxophones and piano.

Congratulations to Michellina for being the first to perform Transition Sketches in Australia, she did a fine job. The piece is a demanding example of saxophone repertoire, requiring several advanced techniques. It is quite amazing to listen to the many sounds that a high-calibre saxophonist possesses. Michellina’s tone seemed to envelope me completely.

Paganini Lost  was the first work in the finals to require more than two performers. The ensemble in this piece was inspiring, all three musicians working together to create what was a truly glorious sound.

Michellina’s inspiration piece was Digital by Thierry Alla, performed by French saxophonist Marie-Bernadette Charrier.

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This week’s second performer was violinist Yebin Yoo. She presented two works for the program, firstly Adagio from Sonata No.1 in G minor by J.S. Bach and then Ravel’s Tzigane, for which she was joined by Leigh Harrold on piano.

The Adagio was an aural delight. There is something about the intermingling of voices across a single string instrument that transfixes the listener. Yebin’s interpretation of the movement was breathtaking. It was no doubt the fruit of many hours of detailed deconstruction and analysis. Brava!

The lengthy solo passage at the beginning of the Ravel gave way for a display of fine artistry. The piece has a rhapsodic nature, similar to the virtuosic writing of the Romantic period. Tzigane is an unexpected piece of brilliance from Ravel, famous for his impressionistic writing. Yebin managed to convey many characters through her playing, achieving a spectrum of diverse colours and nuances.

Yebin’s inspiration piece was Johannes Brahms’ Violin Concerto, of which we heard an excerpt performed by soloist Janine Jansen with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe, under the direction of Bernard Haitink.

The podcast for this episode of The Talent is now available for download. We hope you tune in next week to hear Pianist Alexander Waite and Cellist Allan Tao performing live at 7pm on November 1st.

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