Xuefei Yang Recital
Our first professional concert of the new season got off to a cracking start with the amazing Xeufei Yang. The concert Hall was filled to capacity with many extra chairs being required.
Xuefei was born in Beijing and has played the guitar since the age of 7. She is credited with many firsts - the 1st guitarist from her country to study classical guitar in the West; the 1st Chinese student to receive an international scholarship from the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music. Xuefei has given concerts all over the world - China, Hong Kong, Macau, Spain, Australia, Taiwan, Japan, Portugal, Singapore, Holland and the USA. It was therefore a great honour and privilege to have her return to Bognor Regis for our opening concert of the season.
The programme was a selection of varied pieces which gave Xuefei the chance to ably demonstrate the different techniques and styles of playing. Bach's Suite in E major demonstrated Bach at his best - bright and sparkling, then stately and majestic through to joyful. Sor's Variations on Mozart's Magic Flute was played with great conviction and never dragged as can sometimes happen.
The pieces by Albeniz, the haunting Asturias, the romantic Cordoba and the vibrant Sevilla were all vividly brought to life. The more recent South American pieces by Barrios, Villa Lobos, Lauro and Morel were executed with great dexterity and exhibited a wide range of dynamics being strong and powerful and then extremely delicate. Some pieces were played so quickly that the fingers could not be seen to move presumably strobed by the lighting or too fast for the eye to see! However, the interpretation of the music was always paramount in the playing.
Xuefei rewarded the enthusiastic applause from the audience with two encores - the oriental Spring Breeze by Deng and Li, and La Cumpasita by Rodriguez. A truly wonderful tango played with so much panache and greatly enjoyed by all. I cannot help but think of Jack Lemmon and Joe E Brown's dance sequence in the film Some Like it Hot whenever I hear this piece.
It is not often that I buy cds, but on this occasion I bought Xuefei's Romance de Amor and it is the best buy I have made in a long while. I just cannot stop playing it! Xuefei is one of those musicians who just ooze music. I am sure she could have carried on playing all night without repeating any piece. It is truly a privilege to be able to see and hear such world class performers in our small recital hall. Let us hope that it will not be too long before Xuefei returns to play for us again.