Kissin plays Liszt, Hong Kong

Last night I had the honor to listen to Evgeny Kissin playing the piano in the Hong Kong Cultural Center. HKU arranged for three rows on the stage, and I was lucky enough to sit just a couple of steps away from Kissin.

The program was as follows:

Études d’exécution transcendante No. 9 “Ricordanza”

Sonata in B minor

Harmonies poétiques et religieuses: Funerailles

Années de pèlerinage, Première année:  Suisse- Vallée d’Obermann

Années de Pèlerinage, Deuxième Année, Itali, Venezia e Napoli – Gondoliera, Canzone, Tarantella

I am not a professional pianist, but I do feel the inner strength and intense emotion that Kissin carries with him when he plays the piano. He often breathed loud enough that I could hear it clearly. This happened a lot when he was playing the Sonata in B minor. This piece is rather peculiar. To me, it seems very unorganized. When he played the strongest notes, he was really using all the strength in him, a power great enough that I could even feel it.

My favorite one among the program was “Ricordanza”. The way he played it reminds me of the Chinese instrument, Guzheng. He played it coherently, like a deep breath. The melody was flowing, like a stream into your heart.

Funerailles was amazing as well. There was one part of it where the melody was quite simple yet expressive. I can feel the heavy steps of the people, and the sadness they carry. I could picture the melody: a group of people was saying farewell to the deceased, on an empty piece of land. They were walking together, but didn’t say a word. That was precisely what I felt when my grandmother passed away. Silence, and deep sadness. Kissin moved his fingers between the deep heavy notes and lighter ones, gentle but with strength.

Music is a universal language. Great musicians must always immerse themselves into their music before they can bring the audience into the wonderland of music. Kissin is a good example.

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