R E V I E W S & A R T I C L E S
Chong's poetic energy with Chopin - The Firm, Solo Recital
(The Advertiser, Rodney Smith - Oct 2010)
The Firm's fifth subscription concert, courtesy of Melbourne pianist Kristian Chong, featured composer-guru Frederick Chopin and cast a very long shadow indeed. In fact, the entire second half comprised the Chopin Preludes, those elegant aphorisms beloved of audiences and pianists the world over for their melodic and harmonic invention that encapsulates the essence of Chopin's manner without garrulous discourse.
Chong performed them as if one work and they do form a very listenable, sonata-length statement when treated thus. He adopted a gentle, often reminiscent approach and avoided grand gestures with attendant histrionics. There was much to admire in the poetic, persuasively intimate colourations with which he tinted these minatures. Roger Smalley's fierecely dissonant, plangent and often fragmented Variations on a theme of Chopin opened the concert in challenging style, and Chong met its relentless demands head on with admirably disciplined energy and commitment. The sonic felicities of Raymond Chapman Smith's beautifully composed little Fantasien received the enticing treatment they deserved.