Banker Uy: Brilliant pianist/Word Weavers launch reset
SUNDRY STROKES (The Philippine Star) - February 19, 2014 - 12:00am

Banker-pianist Ryan Fang Uy gave a striking, startling, indeed brilliant concert at St. Cecilia’s Hall last Sunday despite early self-study, a relatively late and brief piano course under Prof. Anthony Say, and equally brief mentoring by a few master pianists.

His formidable, substantial program consisted of familiar works: Bach’s Italian Concerto, Beethoven’s Piano Sonata Op. 31, No. 2, Chopin’s Ballade No. 1, Buenaventura’s Emotions No. 3 and Grieg’s Piano Concerto in A Minor.

Uy captured and grasped the essence, period  — baroque, classic, romantic, contemporary — and style of each composition. Further, I have yet to see a more graceful pianist than Uy who would gently raise his hands, suspend them for an instant in mid-air, then strike the keys.

Unfailingly compelling attention, Uy gave a subdued, refined, restrained interpretation of Bach’s Concerto, the pedal unused, the dynamics rather limited; e.g., the right hand crossing over the left hand, and playing two notes three times in exactly the same unvarying volume. The Concerto reflected the influence of Italian and French composers of the time.

Beethoven’s Sonata, described by musicologists as “one of the composer’s most magical evocations”,  was  infused by the pianist with unflagging vitality which gave life to its agitated, its often changing rapid tempo, and highly spirited and dramatic passages which Uy tackled with audacity, these passages contrasting with the languorous Adagio which introduced a fervent funeral march.

Chopin’s Ballade opened with an exquisitely lyrical theme repeated in diverse forms throughout while conveying a yearning which slowly turned into an intensely profound longing. Uy eloquently expressed the fervid emotions, moving the audience deeply while audaciously tackling the technical fireworks in Chopin’s typically florid innovations.

Although brief, Buenaventura’s Emotions, as the title implies, evoked varied feelings.

The concert was climaxed by the Grieg Concerto, one of the most frequently interpreted. In high school, while studying piano under two Battig graduates, I would hie to St. Cecilia’s Hall to listen to the Grieg Concerto at a graduation recital.

In Sunday’s concert, the thunderous opening chordial passages were soon followed by swift runs and thrills, Uy demonstrating power, enthralling listeners in the ethereal adagio, and exciting them in the even more thunderous climactic ending. To the last note, Arturo Molina wielded the baton over the Manila Symphony Orchestra with authority, precision and keen perception.

Uy still has to reach the apex of his music  career. Nevertheless, his debut was outstanding, leaving music lovers to surmise that he might abandon his banking career — though how much more lucrative it is! If he persists with determination in pursuing his avocation or passion, he will in time join the country’s leading pianists. Dazzling, awesome technical feats by this late bloomer should be forthcoming!

*   *   *

The launching of “The Word Weavers”, an anthology of poems by Maria Rosa “Bing” Carrion (MASA), Kezang Uden Pendor and Jennifer Gordon Russell (MBE), has been re-set for March 22, 2:30-6 p.m. at the Club Lounge. An excerpt from the foreword by Krip A. Yuson, multi-awarded poet, follows:

“It offers a gently unfolding tapestry of voices beholden to nature and its blessings. Woven together are the threads of highly personal fascination with the cornucopia of delights to be found in fields and gardens, mountains and islands, and foreign countries. Yet this engagement is also universal, as the very spirit that bonds the three lady poets in this anthology . . . All together, these hallmarks circumscribe and define a poetry of tenderness.”

A MINOR ANTHONY SAY ARTURO MOLINA BALLADE NO BUENAVENTURA CLUB LOUNGE EMOTIONS NO GRIEG CONCERTO ST. CECILIA
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