Thanks to the enthusiastic concert goers, Charlie’s July 22 Concert is a great success! Despite the stormy weather, friends, families and music lovers braced the elements and arrived at the concert, some 45 minutes early! That caught us by pleasant surprise, and we appreciate everyone’s support so much!
Charlie was clearly inspired as well. He patiently waited as I gave a lengthy introduction where I said “a few words”, which naturally turned into about 500 words – but in my defense, the audience loved it as I told them anecdotes about Charlie’s benefit endeavors, toughness, and his music interpretations and CD. After I finally finished, Charlie couldn’t wait to open the concert with one of his best pieces – the Beethoven 32 Variations in C Minor, WoO 80. This is a piece he excelled ever since he started learning it – in one winners’ recital he moved a musician to tears with a brilliant performance of it. This time, he played it more musical than ever. I think while his chances were limited by his finger injury a couple weeks ago in e-piano competition, he did improve his music simply by seeing other brilliant young musicians make beautiful music.
Next up was Bach Prelude & Fugue in E-flat Minor, BWV853. Charlie’s rendition of the Prelude has always been exquisite. I told him that his playing melts hearts, it’s that powerful. While appreciation of Bach has been divided – some insisted on certain tempo, certain way of playing, but I put a big thumb down to that kind of static view. I told Charlie that even if his competition gets affected by such a view, DON’T cater to that kind of playing – you play however way that makes it more beautiful! I couldn’t have been more proud of how he played the piece recently, and never had he played it better than today, where even the Fugue part that I usually get a bit bored with, he shaped every phrase and line so well that I was in fact more interested than ever!
As if that wasn’t enough to impress everyone (particularly me 🙂 ), Charlie’s next piece was taken from his CD “Live, Dream, Love” – Tchaikovsky’s venerable “October”. Literally hundreds or maybe even more professional recordings of this piece exist. But when he finished the piece, his teacher Professor Ingrid Clarfield couldn’t helped but said “I don’t think there’s a recording in the world that bettered what Charlie has just played”. It’s that beautiful. Every note seems to have come from his heart, every dynamics, rubato, just impeccable. Charlie had always excelled at more melancholy pieces, but this performance is just above and beyond.
The last piece of the first half is Chopin’s Sonata No. 3 in B Minor, first movement. Charlie’s playing resembles that of 2015’s 2nd prize winner Charles Richard-Hamelin’s. Perhaps there are details where he’s not as good as the other Charles, they are beyond what I could tell. After all, I’m not a music critic or international competition judge. I listen with my heart and pay more attention to the way the music is rendered – is it the most beautiful way? I judge it by comparing phrases and paragraphs to other top musicians and see whose rendition gives the most touching, exciting, exhilarating results. So I think I’m just a typical audience member that simply knows the pieces being performed by heart. And I just loved how Charlie played the piece. He expressed all moods and shades, colors wonderfully.
At the intermission, Charlie hardly had any time to rest, as he was doing a CD Sign & Sale to add to Rescue Music Foundation fundraising, the purpose of this concert. Due to many people interested in talking to him and buying his CD (after hearing that “October” rendition, who doesn’t?), he in the end just had time to drink some water and get back on stage for the 2nd half again.
But Charlie did not miss a beat. In 2nd half he opened with Schubert Impromptu Op. 90 No. 1, a piece that I always find a bit boring during to the constant repeats. But he made it work, with enough variety and details to emphasize the beauty of the melody while changing enough to keep audience focused.
Then came Beethoven’s Appassionata. I always feel Charlie is very good with Beethoven. He has the power to render the anger/agitation/strong emotion that a lot of Beethoven’s pieces have, yet his mastery of more melancholy parts and detailed phrasing perfectly complements. The Appasionata is no difference. His performance was, Passionate, tumultuous, emotional, just like a Beethoven should be. 🙂
3rd piece of the 2nd half is Marcello Oboe Concerto (Bach transcription), another piece from his “Live, Dream, Love” CD. This is a simple piece that really tests the pianist’s ability to carry the melody, yet it’s so beautiful that when the pianist succeeds, it is so moving. Charlie did that and more. Each seemingly simplistic line has its predestined direction in his rendition, and all of it combine into an overwhelmingly delicate and touching melody that just gripped everyone’s heart. This is a beautiful piece no doubt, but Charlie’s rendition was ethereal.
Charlie closed the concert with a signature Liszt etude, transcendental etude No. 4 “Mazeppa”. This is such a fiendishly difficult piece that despite spending 2.5 years on it, Charlie still cannot do it perfectly. But he got as close as he could in the concert. The beautiful melody in the middle of the piece were expertly brought out, the thunderous beginning impressed the audience with every fast octave progression that just seems not humanly possible, the grave melody near the end played with just the right emotion and rubato. After the roaring ending, the audience erupted into a standing ovation!
Charlie responded to the long applause with an encore, a 3rd piece from his CD. This is the Chopin Nocturne Op. 9 No. 2. Not an technically impressive piece but nonetheless with remarkable beauty, it is a satisfying and upbeat ending to a marvelous concert! Mrs. Clarfield told us this is best she’s heard Charlie play, and we agree wholeheartedly. Charlie really responded to the audience supporting his good cause with the best performance he can give, and dare I say, anyone can give! (I know it might be a bit hyperbole as music appreciation is to each their own, but hey, I’m allowed to voice my opinion regardless!)
Perhaps most importantly, in addition to a sizable ticket sales + all proceeds from CD Sign & Sale, Charlie also donated $350 of his own money to the cause. Adding in family contribution (of course we’d not be outdone by Charlie!), we now have a total of $2700 raised to start up Rescue Music Foundation!
Very soon we’ll have activities starting for the Rescue Music Foundation. Next month, in fact, will be two concerts in another state. More details will follow. Any family interested in having their kids taking part in a Rescue Music Concert or helping out, please contact email@example.com. The world will be a better place with everyone’s help, particularly our younger generation’s caring actions!
BTW we’re still working the concert recordings and will release it in the future. Contact us if you’re interested. Thanks again to everyone that attended the concert!! Please let all your friends and acquaintances know how marvelous this young pianist is and how wonderful this cause is! Hopefully they’ll join you in Charlie’s next concert!