POWERFUL and enigmatic. These are words that aptly describe the performance of Chinese virtuoso Tian Jiang. Recognized internationally for his marvelous playing technique, Tian Jiang, together with the UST Symphony Orchestra, treated the Filipino audience to a night of classical music last Feb. 27 at the Francisco Santiago Hall, Equitable PCIBank Makati City.

The performance opened with Jiang’s Shanghai Dream, a piece that clearly showed his Chinese roots. Its playful rythms and springy tunes brought to mind the quaint, grassy hills of the Chinese countryside. Shanghai Dream is a 12-piece suite that narrates the life of Jiang, from his childhood in China to his present career as a pianist. Out of the 12, six pieces were performed.

Old Spirit, the next piece, is slightly subdued. The musical pattern is steady which doesn’t contain strong passions.

The third and fourth pieces, “Spring Dance” and “Silk Road” have a beat that echoed the young Jiang’s youthful sentiments. The melodies were vibrant and pulsing, complemented by almost erratic rythmic patterns. These pieces were composed to mark Jiang’s Rock and Roll generation.

The last two pieces from Shanghai Dream, are “The Sun” and “Secret Desire.” Contrary to the previous pieces, it was noticeable that these two had more depth and elegance, symbolic of Jiang’s maturity.

After Shanghai Dream, Jiang performed Carnaval, by Robert Schumann, a piece with a dance-like melody and thematic variation. It was based on the biblical episode of the war waged by David against the Philistines. Charged with gaiety and dynamism, it was reminiscent of the merry-making held prior to Lent.

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Jiang ended the first part of the evening’s performance with Franz Liszt’s Mephisto Waltz. This piece was filled with strong, angry emotions which resonated with each forceful strike of the key. Liszt’s composition contains chromatic chords and skillful thematic transitions.

For the second part of the performance, Jiang team up with the UST Symphony Orchestra and rendered a piano concerto by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Jiang’s exceptional talent as a pianist was very evident. He managed to go through Mozart’s complicated melodic patterns with effortless grace and precision. Combined with the UST Symphony’s usual competence, the presentation was truly worthy of remembrance.

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