Xuefei Yang Recital
We were very privileged to have Chinese guitarist Xuefei Yang present our first concert of 2019. As always, she was on top form and the hall was filled to capacity. Xuefei has been playing the guitar from the age of just seven years. At 14 she made her debut in Madrid where Joaquin Rodrigo was in the audience. She was the first guitarist from China to study in the UK where she undertook a postgraduate programme at the Royal Academy of Music. She has given recitals in many countries including the UK, USA, Germany, France Spain, Belgium, Netherlands, Finland, Australia, Japan, Singapore and of course China. In fact, Xuefei had recently returned from a tour of China where she played to audiences of 2000+ so our small hall must have seemed quite cosy in comparison. Xuefei has very busy performance schedules. She was giving a guitar workshop at the Royal Academy of Music on the day after our concert and was playing in Beijing and Ireland in February. With a full calendar she was to play in Greece, Poland and Ireland in May and the USA in June. We were indeed honoured to have such a high calibre performer come and play for us.
Xuefei demonstrated a wide variation of tonal colours from her 2003 Greg Smallman guitar. The first part of the concert consisted of Gaspar Sanz’s Suite Espanola and two Lute Suites by Bach – BWV995 and BWV1006a consisting of six and seven movements respectively. The Bach was all played from memory and demonstrated amazing stamina and recall to say nothing of superb musicality
The second part of the concert began with two Chinese pieces arranged by Xuefei – Shushus Lou’s Fisherman’s Song at Eventide, which Xuefei said she used to sing at school and Changiun Xu’s Sword Dance. Both pieces were very well received and full credit to Xuefei for demonstrating how a Western instrument like the guitar could be made to sound so much like an Eastern instrument. We were then back to more familiar ground as we heard two superb renditions of the Albeniz pieces Seville and Asturius. Xuefei finished the formal concert with a piece by Paco Pena – a Columbianas. She said that the piece made her happy when she played it and so she decided to spread the happiness by introducing it to her concerts. Enthusiastic applause from the audience was rewarded with a wonderful encore – Bach’s Air on a G String. This was Xuefei’s fourth appearance at the club and I know we all wish for a speedy return of this much talented and busy artist.