A somewhat ponderous performance of Shostakovich’s Fifth by an international maestro marking a fifty-year association with one of London’s orchestras might seem to be an odd occasion to choose to celebrate young Korean talent. But when the companion piece is the same maestro’s Music for Cello and Orchestra played by the young star cellist Han-na Chang, the pieces of the picture fall into pace. The Music is opulently scored, calling for a wide range of percussion and no fewer than four keyboard instruments1
Han-na Chang tackled the piece with virtuosity and sensitivity, navigating the soundworld of Maazel’s “dreamscape” with flair, and the performance was a celebration in itself. But the real opportunity for celebration came at the reception afterwards, where the philanthropist Lady Rothermere had assembled many of London’s talented young Korean artists and performers, along with figures from the Korean establishment. Maestro Maazel made a brief appearance, but the star of the show was Chang herself, who had managed to smuggle some Cho Yong-pil into the venue, and was seen to be dancing with the host. The evening promised to extend well into the night as the assembled company grew all dewy eyed, the strains of “Come back to Busan” wafting from the karaoke machine. Nice to know that the youngsters appreciate music of a slightly older generation. Lady Rothermere is to be thanked for her generosity in supporting the concert and the splendid event afterwards.
- Piano (whose player must have earned the highest fee per note ever), harpsichord, accordion and celeste (whose player also had to be physically fit, as the score required her to complete a 10 metre dash through the orchestra and back to assist the harpsichordist for a couple of bars before resuming her own part).