Intriguing conversation, blazing piano playing, hot debate, and warm entertainment staved off the growing chill at the International Interview Concert at St Paul’s.
Rhythmie Wong performed with fiery virtuosity, translucent sensitivity and incandescent calm at the keyboard, then picked up the microphone to enlighten and cheer during her chats with Tim Chick, and answering audience questions late on Sunday afternoon.
From Hong Kong but based in Cologne, a finalist at Worthing’s Sussex International Piano Competition in May, Rhythmie received an Interview Concert welcome, including yet another new In-the-Round listening format, with Chinese hanging and wedding-table lanterns, plus an origami firebird decoration on the piano, specially created by artist Dong Li-Blackwell.
In her programme entitled ‘Dancing Fires and Fragrances’ Rhythmie played ballet music by Stravinsky and Ravel. Dance, song, legend and fragrance came in Spanish music by Albeniz and Granados. And there was Haydn’s fun, verve and crackling energy.
Other surprises included two Chinese piano pieces – and the new Mystery Music Spot. What was it? The audience asked each other in the interval, when they submitted their own impressions of the unnamed piece Rhythmie played, and also wrote down their own questions to her. It proved to be Debussy’s prelude ‘Fireworks’. And at the end, Rhythmie was presented with gift mementoes.