While Placido Domingo was singing at Asia Expo, Andras Schiff was playing the piano at City Hall. And I went to City Hall.
The program that evening was:
Beethoven “Tempest" Sonata
Schumann Fantasie in C minor
Beethoven “Waldstein" Sonata
One intermission…and naturally everyone would think it’s placed right in the middle between Tempest and Fantasie. It is, however, placed right before Waldstein…much to my surprise. The Waldstein is long, 32 pages, but still…takes 25 minutes only. With an intermission placed right before it, that’d make the concert program kinda imbalanced in terms of length with the first half going over an hour and the second with 25 minutes only.
The Schumann pieces were brilliant. I don’t mean that the Beethoven sonatas were not as good but there are certain little elements that I don’t really like that much but still…it’s splendid.
As usual, encore is inevitable. And after the encore pieces, I understand how the program was designed so.
The first encore piece was Italian Concerto by Bach…and it’s the complete Italian Concerto.
Then first half of one of Bach’s Partitas.
Then a Schubert piece.
So, the program lasted for about 105 minutes, then encore for about 40 minutes, plus a 20-minute intermission…The whole concert started at 8pm and ended at 10:30pm.
While most Hong Kong people know Lang Lang and Yundi Li, how many of them know Andras Schiff? Or how many of them would pay attention to any other pianists? One thing that I don’t like about Lang Lang is his extremely exaggerated body-movement – it’s so exaggerated as if he can’t play well without those movements. Typical American training. On the other hand, European pianists, like Andras Schiff, usually just sit cool on the stool and play through with minimal body-movement. It’s not like they don’t move, they do. But they only move when it’s necessary.
Oh well, guess it’s just a matter of style. But…
less is more.