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Simply Abigail
14 November 2001, Wednesday


Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART Variations in C, KV265

George Frederic HANDEL Suite in E Major (G 145-148)

Claude DEBUSSY Children's Corner

Maurice RAVEL Sonatine

Felix MENDELSSOHN Andante and Rondo Capriccioso, Op.14

Richard RODGERS "My Favourite Things" from The Sound of Music (trans. Stephen Hough)

Frederic CHOPIN
Nocturne in E-flat major Op.9 No.2.
Grande Valse Brillante


Performers: Abigail SIN piano
NOISE RATING INDEX: 2 (the small boy beside me tended to wave his arms incessantly at the music, and that was kind of distracting=)
The Noise Rating Index is a partially-objective measurement of pager and handphone blasts, 9pm and 10pm watch beeps, coughing-during-the-pianissimo-bits, intra-audience conversation and other mind-bogglingly inept noises emitted in the concert hall during actual performance of music. It is measured on a scale of 0 to 5, in increasing annoyance.
This review has been kindly sponsored by CHIJMES
by Cheryl Lian

From the moment her fingers touched the keyboard, it was as if angels had descended upon earth and brought along their sweet harmonies with them.

Abigail's Artistic Journey

Abigail's artistic journey began with music appreciation classes at four and subsequently she was found in the ranks of young Singapore talents at the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts between 1998 and 2000.

Thereafter Abigail resolved to take the next leap in her pianistic quest by submitting herself to the meticulous instruction and mentorship of Victor Khor. Victor Khor, an international concert pianist who studied with many great pianists of the Russian School like Tatania Nikolaeva, Ryszard Bakst and Evgeni Malinin, was the first Singaporean pianist to enter Moscow State Conservatory in 1989 - hailed as a world-renowned school of piano playing.

Like her mentor, Abigail's special affinity for the piano was quickly recognised by international concert pianists. In August 2001 she was offered a scholarship to attend the inaugural International Summer School and Festival for pianists in Manchester, United Kingdom organised by the famous Chetham's School of Music for prodigious youngsters. There she gave an evening recital to pianists and teachers from Europe, Japan, Korea and China, including Norma Fisher, Murray Mclachlan, who were extremely impressed by both her pianistic skills as well as her musicality.

Many at the Festival in Manchester had observed Abigail's musical maturity and her spontaneity in communicating with her audience. Abigail is a born performer. Martin Roscoe, British doyen of the piano and head of keyboard department at the Northern
College of Music was so charmed by her highly imaginative music that he personally tutored her.

Martin Roscoe was clearly impressed by Abigail when he reported, "Abigail was clearly very talented … I was impressed by her natural musicality, her very well developed pianism and her ability to pick up on my suggestions". (CHIJMES)

The concert started with a simple tune of "Twinkle Twinkle little stars", but quickly gave way to a bold rendition of this basic tune, all part of Mozart's Variation in C, KV265. Nine-year old Abigail Sin's playing was subtle but powerful, tugging at the heartstrings of the child within us. Her playing provoked a tearful recollection of my childhood in this simple yet elegant masterpiece.

In Handel's Suite in E, she displayed excellent finger flexibility as well. The natural rhythms of the piece were well rendered by the young pianist.

Children's Corner by Debussy is a popular favourite among the young and old alike. Abigail gave a pleasing performance of this piece, and she showed the capability to cope with technically demanding passages, in which her performance of the popular all-time favourite, Golliwogg's Cakewalk, was played confidently at a brisk tempo.

Following the interval, she attempted the Andante and Rondo Capriccioso by Mendelssohn and the Sonatine by Ravel. This showcased her ability for interpreting rather abstract and impressionistic works of musical art. In an almost magical way, the sound she produced from the piano became an endless watercolour of musical notes.

This gave way to a popular Broadway tune of "My Favourite Things". She performed this effortlessly as well. The sound was pleasing, and this was played with marked clarity.

The final pieces of the evening's programme included the Nocturne in E-flat and the Grande Valse Brilliante by Chopin. A musical whiz at heart, she performed the pieces with confidence. Indeed, her virtuosic capabilities were well brought out here.

It was a well-received performance, as she confidently took on two encores towards the end of the evening, both played effortlessly and with utmost ease. The spirited performance marked the close of a magnificent display of talent within the driven young pianist.

In conclusion, it was an enjoyable night out. It is always a delight to savour the fine artistry of a young and sincere pianist who enjoys her work. I wish her all the best in her work as she prepares for a career as an international virtuoso.

CHERYL LIAN's simple prescription for a good life: Live simply, but feel deeply. If Cheryl had all the time in the world, she would wake up really late and listen to music all day. Her favourite composers include Brahms, Chopin and Rachmaninoff.

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