Touch of the Orient at Webster

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ARBROATH had a rare treat last week when an internationally acclaimed symphony orchestra gave a special concert.

The Singapore National Youth Orchestra played the Webster Memorial Theatre as part of the extended programme of the Aberdeen International Youth Festival.

The concert consisted of nearly two full hours of the best 19th and 20th century Russian classical works, and was well received by the audience.

The greater part of the first half was given over to Prokofiev’s ‘Piano Concerto no.2’, an interesting and challenging dramatic piece.

Guest pianist Lim Yan was on excellent form, a youthful looking, modest man who seemed almost surprised by the accolades of the audience.

He seemed to channel the spirit of the music, giving what has often been described as one of the most technically formidable concertos a depth of emotion that truly complemented the piece.

The Overture to ‘Ruslan and Ludmilla’ by Mikhail Glinka was no less dramatic, and served as a rousing introduction to what turned out to be an enlightening mix of Russian greats.

Tchaikovsky’s ‘Symphony no. 5’ is based on a theme by Glinka, and adds a cyclical nature to the performance.

Musical director Darrell Ang, himself a native of Singapore was on top form conducting the youthful orchestra with sharp, confident movements.

As an encore he introduced a traditional Chinese folk song, much to the delight of the audience.

The musicians themselves gave a flawless and impassioned performance, despite their obvious youth, and by all appearances they thoroughly enjoyed themselves to boot.