I must admit it was strange walking into Elisabeth Murdoch Hall and finding myself there with about 40 other people on Tuesday night. This auditorium holds 700 in the stalls.
It was a pity because the concert given by David Fung was an excellent one. It’s always lovely to hear somebody perform who you know from your days studying music, doing competitions together and now, seeing them up on stage and realising how difficult it is to be up there and play to a high level and all the preparation behind it all. For me, the best playing occurred in the Schubert Wanderer Fantasy and David’s own arrangement of Ravel’s La Valse. The latter was a virtuosic tour de force of orchestral textures and colours grafted onto the piano. In the Schubert, I felt a deep connection through David of the music’s emotional core, humour and that insatiable virtuosic quality that dominates the fugal section and subsequent operatic climax.
At the head of the program was a new work written by one of David’s colleagues, Louis Chiappetta. This was a flickering work, full of ghostly inspirations from the Wanderer Fantasy. In the second half, we were also given a performance of Mozart’s B-Flat Major Sonata K570 in which the humorous episodes in the final movement were a highlight.
There was also gripping performance of three Rachmaninoff Preludes, nos. 12, 10 and 8 from Op 32. I enjoyed the climatic arc of no 10 and the whirlwind virtuosity of no 8. David warmed to the audience with introductions to every work from the stage throughout the evening and a Scarlatti Sonata was the final offering as encore.
There was a standing ovation for David, if only there were a few more of us there in the audience!
Reviewer Hoang Pham heard David Fung in Recital on Tuesday 4 September at the MRC.