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Rixiang Huang at the 2018 Hastings International Piano Concerto Competition finals Photo: Bob Mazzer

Rixiang Huang’s HIP online concert

Last week’s online concert by prizewinners in the Hastings International Piano Concerto Competition was given by Rixiang Huang. HOT’s music correspondent Brian Hick was impressed with how he met the challenge of both pieces.

The eleventh HIP concert was given last Friday by Rixiang Huang, a Prizewinner in the 2018 Hastings International Piano Concerto Competition. He was performing in what appeared to be an ecumenical chapel as there were banners behind the piano with a variety of forms of the Christian cross. The acoustic was close and lively, but with enough ambiance to avoid any unnecessary intrusive noises.

He played two extended works, opening with Mendelssohn’s Fantasy in F sharp minor Op28 known as the Scottish Fantasy. Though obviously linked the composer’s love of Scotland it was probably written before he travelled to the north where he wrote the more familiar Hebrides Overture and the Scottish Symphony. The first movement is restrained, almost sombre in tone, despite some florid runs, but it relaxes into the central slow movement with its dancelike rhythms. The fiery final scherzo allowed Rixiang Huang to show his considerable technical skill and virtuosity with the speed and clarity of his articulation.

Alfred Grünfeld’s Soirée de Vienne may be based on themes from Strauss’ Die Fledermaus, plus a few others, but you would have to know your Viennese melodies pretty well to recognise them within the torrid and overwhelming rush of Grünfeld’s transcriptions. It is an exceptionally demanding and exhilarating work, which Rixiang Huang’s youth and enthusiasm were more than up to, indulging himself in the challenge of the magnificent and virtuosic ornamentations to Strauss’ original melodies.

Posted 11:18 Tuesday, Jun 2, 2020 In: Music & Sound

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