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(Updated 11:30 a.m., Feb. 7)
Young musicians shine at Gloucester Music Club recital

By Fred Sherwin
Orléans Online

Alexander Hou performs Bach's 'Anglaise in A+' during the first of two Gloucester Music Club recitals on the weekend. Fred Sherwin/Photo

The Gloucester Music Teachers Association held their second set of Gloucester Music Club recitals this weekend featuring 52 talented musicians and vocalists ranging in age from seven to 37.

The level of talent, especially among the musicians who performed during the second recital on Saturday, was astounding.

The program was kicked off by vocalist Kathy Dorval who sang “Music, When Soft Voices Die” by Roger Quilter.
Among the many highlights during the first half of the recital was Alice Yang’s impeccable performance of Beethoven’s Piano Sonata No. 9 Op 14 No. 1.

As someone who has had the pleasure of hearing Yang play on number of occasions in the past, I can honestly say that her performance on Saturday was by far her best.

Yang was followed by vocalist Rachel Hunt whose performance of “Green Finch and Linnet Bird” from the Broadway musical “Sweeney Todd” was mezmerizing.
The second half of the recital included a performance by Alice Yang’s equally talented older brother Kevin, who chose to play Joseph Haydn’s Piano Sonata Hob XVI 52, widely regarded as the 18th century German composer’s greatest piano sonatas.

Like his sister, Kevin’s performance was flawless.
Yaying Chi’s interpretation of Chopin’s Polonaise in C sharp minor was impressive as well, as was Maria Rechner’s performance of the first movement of Mozart’s Piano Sonata No. 5 Allegro.

Mandela Laverdure performs a concerto by 18th century Belgian composer Jean-Baptiste Accolay during the first of two Gloucester Music Club recitals on the weekend. Fred Sherwin/Photo

Ulyn Small delivered the last of the three vocal performances of the afternoon with her rendition of “Where Corals Lie” which is a poem written in 1859 by Richard Garnett and set to music by Sir Edward Elgar in 1888 and made famous by mezzo-soprano Janet Baker in a recording of Elgar’s “Sea Pictures” done in 1965 and which is readily available on YouTube.

The elegant Ms. Small did an exquisite job, accompanied on the piano by Fred Hill.

The next to last performance was provided on the piano by Henry Yin. Despite rushing the beginning of Franz Schubert’s Impromptu #2 in E flat major, which led to a couple of minor breaks, Yin’s performance of the incredibly challenging movement was quite well done.

The piece amounts to a three minute rapid run which requires precise timing, great dexterity and a high level of concentration. Unhappy with his performance during the recital, Yin played the piece again after the hall had emptied and did so flawlessly.

Saturday’s recital was brought to a close by 16-year-old Anika-France Forget, whose interpretation of Chopin’s Nocturne in C sharp minor was magic to my ears in its pure perfection, and even that might be an understatement.

I can only hope that Forget will be invited to do a reprieve of her performance at the Gloucester Music Club’s 25th anniversary gala in May.

The first of the two weekend recitals held on Friday night also had its share of highlights starting with sibling violinists Maluki and Mandela Laverdure, who each was spectacular in their own right.

Other memorable performances were provided by cellist Nicholas Cooper and pianists Lydia Welter, Emily Liu, Alexander Hou, and Francesca de Vries, who chose to play Oscar Peterson’s “The Gentle Waltz” for the occasion.

But the highlight of the night was turned in by just-turned-eight-year-old Elizabeth Perevalova who stole the show with her flawless performance of Vivaldi’s Violin Concerto in A-. For someone so young to play so well without any outward signs of nerves blew me away.

The third and final collection of recitals in the Gloucester Music Club concert series will be held on March 11 and 12 at Orleans United Church, with two recitals planned for the Saturday.

(This story was made possible thanks to the generous support of our local business partners.)

 

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