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Yuanfan Yang at HIPCC 2019 (photo: John Cole).

Spirits raised by Yuanfan Yang

HOT’s music correspondent Brian Hick had his spirits raised by the latest concert in Hastings International Piano’s online series An Evening In With…

An Evening In With last Friday reached its tenth concert with a performance  by Yuanfan Yang, who won the Special Prize for Best British Contestant after his performance of Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No 3 with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in the finals of the Hastings International Piano Concerto Competition last spring.

On this occasion he was playing from his front room and cheerfully admitted that his piano needed tuning and had a few strings which needed attention, not that I would probably have noticed as I suspect my own piano is in greater need than his – particularly listening to his highly engaging programme.

He introduced each piece as the event unfolded, and said from the outset that he wanted to give us works which would raise our spirits. He opened with Chopin’s Barcarolle in F sharp Op 60, with its lilting evocation of the Venetian lagoon, and a real sense of the open air and balmy skies.

Rarely in this series have we come across pianist composers playing their own works, so it was a real pleasure to find that Yuanfan Yang had included his own Ode to the Atlantic. He explained that while crossing the Atlantic on a cruise liner he had been working with cellist Julian Lloyd Webber, which inspired him to write the piece. It is a sensuously lyrical work, with memorable unfolding melodies. It would be very easy to find lyrics for it, should anyone be so minded.

He concluded the session with Rachmaninoff’s Prelude in D flat Op 32 No 13. Though it opens introspectively, it rapidly builds into cascading flights of fancy until the conclusion fires on all cylinders. This was a wonderfully engaging concert which really did leave one wanting a lot more. Let us hope we see him very soon again in Hastings.


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Posted 10:44 Sunday, May 24, 2020 In: Music & Sound

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