CHENGDU - Music lovers in this capital city of Sichuan Province are still excited when recalling their unforgettable experience in attending the clarinet solo concert at Pride Music Hall in downtown Chengdu, Sichuan Province, on July 17.
"We enjoyed the opportunity hearing Clarinet Concerto No.2 in Eb, Op.57 ― a masterpiece by Louis Spohr that night. The last time this melody played in China was 28 years ago, when US clarinetist John Denman held his solo concert in Beijing," said Wu Min, a music fan.
This time it came from the instrument in the hands of Hao Tian, a young musician from Chengdu who gratified his hometown listeners at his solo concert with classic works by some of the greatest composers such as Johannes Brahms, Jean Francaix, Louis Spohr and Franz Vinzenz Krommer.
Hao Tian, 22, was born in Chengdu and is now traveling in the US. The solo concert, called "Dreams on the Clarinet," was sponsored by China Clarinet Academic Association, American-Chinese Cultural Exchange Center and Sichuan Music Society.
The solo concert began with the brilliant Prelude of The Marriage of Figaro by Amadeus Mozart, presented with vivacity and warm colors that ushered the audience into the dreamlike world of music.
Following up were two clarinet classics, Sonata for Clarinet and Piano Op.120 No.2 by Johannes Brahms and Thema con variazioni by Jean Francaix, with the accompaniment of Lee Yoon-ju, a young pianist from Korea.
Hao Tian overwhelmed his audience with his full understanding of the feelings in the depth of the Brahms at his latest years, as melody flowed from the clarinet, played under Hao Tian’s quick fingers, to produce a delicate, passionate interpretation of feelings and a display of consummate skills of Brahms’s.
The young clarinetist then showed a poetic expressiveness in his lightful treatment of Themacon variazioni, as the perfect combination of the music from Hao Tian's clarinet and Lee's piano presented a vivid picture of the southern France: ambles on the countryside, chit-chats and light-hearted laughs of lovers…
The high pitched notes from the clarinet seemed to weave beautiful curves that drew the audience into a boundless field of blooming lavender flowers, or a romantic embrace with the blue, balmy water of the Mediterranean Sea.
The highlight of the solo concert was Hao Tian’s performance of Louis Spohr’s Clarinet Concerto No.2 in Eb, Op.57, which requires the most-skilled control on breath of the player and is generally known as the most difficult musical work for clarinet playing.
Hao Tian's magic skills won him a long ovation after the performance. "Unbelievable!" shouted the audience. Some said Hao Tian reminded them of the clarinetist in the movie The Legend of 1900.
Among the audience were China's most esteemed musicians and scholars, including Jin Zhaojun, editor-in-chief of People's Music, Prof. Tao Chunxiao from the Central Conservatory of Music, and Prof. Huang Yuanfu, director of China Clarinetists Association.
The host conductor of the solo concert Russell Vinick also gave a thumb up for Hao Tian. "He is a highly gifted young performer," he noted, "and has shown maturity beyond his age. I am impressed by his exquisite skills playing the Louis Spohr."