R E V I E W S & A R T I C L E S
Tinalley String Quartet & Kristian Chong
Brahms Piano Quintet @ Sydney Opera House
(The Berkshire Review, Andrew Miller - July 2012)
Kristian Chong, the invited pianist, got along very well with the group. Managing to get a remarkably sultry tone out of his Steinway, he seemed to expand the existing coloring of the group for that grand Brahms’ quintet, contributing as much oscuro as chiaro. No multiple-source fluorescent globes here. In the more individualistic writing which brings out each five of the players at some point, each showed an unforced and personal expression yet were always aware of the quintet as an expressive instrument in which their individual thoughts would fly on, the larger group picking up and carrying on the curve of their solo line. The tautness of the group, the precision of their timing worked very well for the Brahms especially, bringing out his rhythmic inventiveness and well sewn-up form.
With the audience never farther than some five meters from the players in the Utzon Room, the clarity of their playing comes across very richly and unfiltered, sometimes even rawly, especially the tutti fortes which don’t so much have to reach you over so short a distance as instantly manifest as a tangible presence in your ears. The easy camaraderie and mutual understanding of the people can be heard and seen, especially in the precise but elastic way they play. Kristian Chong was very sensitive to the acoustic, tempering his attack to the room, and able to blend into the group nicely but with a definite fullness of sound and always much character. The definite quality to his interpretation, to his phrasing, with almost bird-like mellifluousness at times, made his more soloistic passages a pleasure and added to the depth of the ensemble playing.