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<<  -- 3 --  Malcolm Troup    TRANSCENDENTAL UNIVERSALITY


Refusing to harken to the old adage, 'Go West, young man, go West!' we had been steadily moving eastwards. Now on the last night of the Festival we had reached the most easterly point of our quest: China, or rather Shanghai, the hometown of Wu Qian, who has already carved out quite a name for herself in the West since I first persuaded Yehudi to give her a place in the Menuhin School at the age of thirteen. The Master, Peter Fowler, of the Worshipful Company of Musicians, under whose auspices she has often played at the Wigmore Hall and elsewhere, was on hand to introduce her, having only recently returned himself from accompanying the City of London Sinfonia on their tour of China. Although still nominally at the Royal Academy of Music with Christopher Elton, Qian's incomparable technique, at the service of her uncompromising professionalism, enables her to land unerringly on no matter which mountain peak of the piano repertoire -- on this occasion Albeniz' Iberia Book 1, with one of the most towering Fête-Dieu à Séville that I can remember, in which her daredevil leaps were never at the expense of the melodic line. An electrifying Rachmaninov Second Piano Sonata (1931 version) brought the curtain down in preparation for her next Wigmore Hall on 22 November 2006. She is now ready to challenge all comers from East or West alike -- a veritable Teresa Carreno or Gina Bachauer in the making!

Wu Qian
Wu Qian

Florence, Berlin, Augsburg and Vienna may argue themselves blue as to the respective birthplace of the piano but there can be no doubt that the real centre of its 21st century rebirth -- its renaissance -- has to be Shanghai and the other teeming metropolises of modernday China, where we are told that 40,000 potential Wu Qians are now waiting in the wings prior to laying siege to the West -- of whom Lang Lang, Lundi Yi, Niu Niu and Wu Qian herself are but the advance guard! So it is only fitting that that is where our Young Celebrities' Multi-Ethnic Piano Festival reached its climax and conclusion in this celebration of continents and subcontinents where, unlike the West, the piano remains not only a status symbol but a going concern -- at the same time proving that what for Professor Blacking had appeared in the 1980s as a distant dream has become for us Londoners in the meantime an indispensable and unexceptionable enrichment of our concert-going lives!

Copyright © 25 November 2006 Malcolm Troup, London UK




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