For their Chinese Night, staged in the open air by the Staatskapelle Dresden in the city's central park, the long-established German orchestra - one of the oldest in the world - called upon the services of three artists from the land of Cathay: the young pianist Yuja Wang already hailed as a world star, the Paganini Competition prizewinner Mengla Huang and the world-class Chinese-American conductor Xian Zhang, GMD of Milan's Orchestra Sinfonica Giuseppe Verdi.
"Yuja Wang's flying fingers sped through Rachmaninoff's Third Piano Concerto, one of the most difficult and expansive ever written with the highest notes-per-second quota of all. Her stupendous concentration and enormous powers of memorization proved more than equal to the high technical challenges. Despite breathtaking speed she played every detail, every note with extraordinary clarity and accuracy. At the same time, she seemed to absorb the orchestra's vibrations and translate them into her solo performance, so completely in union, of one mind, one sound and one interpretation, were soloist and orchestra in every phase. We have rarely heard this concerto so brilliant, so euphonious as this." (Der neue Merker)
Mengla Huang presents excerpts from the Butterfly Lovers' Violin Concerto by the Chinese composers Chen Gang (b. 1935) and He Zhanhao (b. 1933), composed in 1959, which has grown to be one of the best known works of contemporary Chinese music. The work is based on a very popular tragic love story, the Chinese equivalent to Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. Xian Zhang, in 2008 the first woman ever to conduct the Staatskapelle Dresden, "captured this mélange of Western listening habits and traditional Chinese mindset and sensitivity and with the soloist took us away into the Oriental realms that give this composition its particular charm." (Der neue Merker)
Other pieces of the night were Rimsky-Korsakov's Capriccio Espagnol, Prokofiev's March from The Love For Three Oranges and — as an encore from the pianist — the "Carmen" Variations by Vladimir Horowitz.
Chen Gang/He Zhanhao
Parts from “The Butterfly Lovers’ Violin Concerto”
Capriccio Espagnol, Op. 34
Piano Concerto No. 3 in D minor, Op. 30
Variations on a theme from Georges Bizet’s “Carmen”
March from “The Love For Three Oranges”