Rising Stars Series ft. Hong Xiang & Chien Tat
Music From Turmoil
Featuring Hong Xiang & Chien Tat
Students of Steinway Artist Tedd Joselson
Livestream broadcast from Steinway Production Studio
3 August 2022 (Wednesday)
Ludwig van Beethoven, Sonata No. 17 in D Minor, Op. 31, No.2, “The Tempest”
Franz Schubert, Fantasy in C Major, Op. 15, D. 760, “Wanderer Fantasy”
Edvard Grieg, Peer Gynt, Suite No. 1, Op. 46
Music From Turmoil
Schubert and Beethoven were very much contemporaries; Beethoven lived from 1770-1827 and Schubert 1797-1828. The two of them were even based in the same city: Vienna. However, there is no evidence that they ever met. That being said, it seems that the two men had tremendous respect for each other and their respective works. On his deathbed, Beethoven was brought scores of Schubert's songs and declared himself impressed. Schubert was a passionate devotee of Beethoven's music and when he was dying, he asked that his body be buried in a grave alongside Beethoven's, which it was, in the little Währinger cemetery - less than a year after Beethoven's own death.
The time in which “The Tempest” was written (1802) was a period of despair for the great composer. His hearing had been declining since 1796 and finally in 1802 it seemed to him that he was fated for total deafness. In October that year, he wrote in the Heiligenstadt Testament (addressed to his brothers and to the public) that “…I would have put an end to my life – it is only my art that held me back. Ah! It seemed impossible to me to leave the world before bringing forth all I felt in me, and so have I endured this miserable life.”
The title “Wanderer” set to Schubert’s C-major fantasy draws inspiration from a poem of the same name by Georg Philipp Schmidt (1766-1849). Schmidt’s Wanderer speaks in the first person of the loneliness and disorientation of being a homesick foreigner in a strange land. Like the poem, the song is filled with a sense of nostalgia; desperate, solitary moments in the text are resolved in major keys. The Wanderer sees happiness but it remains unattainable. Schubert certainly identified with these sentiments. The composer faced many challenges in his short life leading to a sense of alienation and what contemporary scholars have suggested was serious depression. Schubert composed the “Wanderer” Fantasy in 1822, a year in which he faced ruinous financial, social and health problems all at once. It was a deeply unhappy time for the composer but he remained productive nonetheless.
As such, “The Tempest” and the “Wanderer Fantasy" were written in dire times for each of the respective composers and the content of the music reflects this.
About Artist - Hong Xiang
Hong Xiang holds a degree majoring in music from the University of Queensland and a Diploma in music from the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts. Hong Xiang has coached with reputed local teachers such as Ms Lena Ching and Mr Benjamin Loh. Most notably, he was taught by Steinway Artist Tedd Joselson.
He was a Finalist in the inaugural Ars-Nova piano competition in Singapore. He has also been featured as the soloist in performances with ensembles such as the ADDO Arts Company and Braddell Heights Symphony Orchestra. At 16, he performed Beethoven's 3rd piano concerto with the BHSO. In the first Piano Concerto Festival in Singapore, he performed Mozart’s K488 (Piano Concerto No. 23 in A Major). More recently, he performed in "Anime & Classical on Piano'' at the Esplanade Recital Studio. Hong Xiang has been featured before by Steinway in a concert at their Gallery and returns once again for another performance.
About Artist - Chien Tat
Chien Tat started learning the piano at the age of 7, under the tutelage of Ho Lee Lian at Cristofori Music School. He then proceeded to study under famous pianists such as Ong Lip Tat and Steinway Artist Tedd Joselson.
In his youth, Chien Tat was a semi-finalist in Singapore’s National Piano and Violin competition. Chien Tat is a seasoned performer, having taken part in numerous concerts and competitions in his time at Cristofori and NAFA. Since then, he has also given a solo recital at the Esplanade Recital Studio and has performed as the soloist with orchestras such as the NAFA orchestra and more recently, the ADDO Arts Company Orchestra where he played Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No. 1. In 2019, he also collaborated with Hong Xiang in concerts at Steinway Gallery Singapore and the Esplanade Recital Studio.
About Rising Stars
The Rising Stars Series is a concert programme that provides a platform for young musicians to showcase their craft across all music genres. It is an unique musical set up to identify and nurture a vibrant music community.