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Monday, May 11, 2020
Ning Yu, Of Being, Music By Wang Lu, Misato Mochizuki, Emily Praetorius
Each of those works explores the sonarities, the harnessing of substantial virtuoso abilities to a music at hand and the extended technical possibilities of new piano music the way it has opened up in the past 100 years. The works are ripe with expressive potential, well realized by Ning Yu. Each of the pieces seeks to make a conceptual element come alive through evolved, Abstract Modern expression.
The opening composition is "Rates of Extinction" in five relatively short movements by Wang Lu. As the program notes tell us it is "both a lament for mortally endangered species and a celebration of pianistic virtuosity." There is much going on throughout.
Misato Mochizuki's single-movement "Moebius-Ring" is a musical realization of a mathematical paradox identified by the title. A set of variations centers around pulsations that repeat, gradually deconstructs down to one note and then rebuilds again.
The third and final work, "Of Being" by Emily Praetorious seeks to examine the space between time in suspension and time flowing. The music uncovers subtleties in decay, interval-to-interval relationships, the continuous articulation of lines across a wide-set of registers and varied attacks including dampened pitches, harmonics, bursts of pianism and a movement through increasingly high density soundings. It all gives us a heightened perception of time set into motion.
In sum we are treated to a highly sophisticated set of piano works played with emotional commitment and thoughtful precision. It is music difficult to play but not so difficult to explore with a proper attitude and a bit of patience.
Ning Yu is a wonder of contemporary pianism, taking on each of the three works with an ideal sense of focus and aesthetic expression. The works themselves in turn give to us a proverbial Zen rock garden of sound and sensibility exhilarating to hear. Highly recommended.