by Clarence Lim
The Singapore Symphony Orchestra (SSO) left audiences with a memorable night, with conductor and music director, Lan Shui, delivering a virtuoso performance with Arnold Schoenberg’s Transfigured Night.
The charming and newly refurbished Victoria Concert Hall provided the perfect setting, and in attendance was a wide range of audiences, from music students to foreign guests, proving the transcendent appeal of the SSO.
The piece of the night was composed in the late nineteenth century, and remains Schoenberg’s most popular work even after a century. A crucial highlight of Transfigured Night is that, in its original form, is one of the prime examples of chamber music with a story as the basis of inspiration.
The story is about a pair of lovers walking in the night and experiencing a whirlwind of emotions, due to untold secrets and past mistakes. But the deep and true love the man has for the woman eventually transformed the night into a radiant and warm one.
As the musicians orchestrate their instruments masterfully, one can almost feel the emotions of the night crafted into the intonations. Each note ooze with presence and when synchronized, seem to offer a vivid depiction of a timeless story.
After the intermission, world-renowned Nikolai Demidenko took centrestage with his passionate musicianship. His concerto of Robert Schumann’s works kept the audience transfixed with its high level of authoritativeness and detailed transitions.
As the night draw to a close and the synchronized reverberations give way to gratuitous applause, the audience all left with an artistic memory that probably will not go away anytime soon.