Concert Review – Victor Lim (Piano)

Concert Review

Victor Lim (Piano) – 19th February 2024

Victor Lim playing a grand piano

Victor Lim’s thoughtfully chosen programme for Penrith Music Club had a clear literary theme running through it, culminating in the psycho-drama that is Schumann’s Kreisleriana.

It remains, to me at least, a moot point as to whether literature inspires the music or the composer, or sometimes music publisher, looks for an apposite or catchy title for the music. Certainly the Schubert impromptu, which was quite clinically delivered, was based on material salvaged from incidental music to the play ‘Rosamunde’ which received only two performances.

Victor Lim
Victor Lim

It is fashionable to include pieces by female composers and Amy Beach is certainly one such prominently touted by Radio 3 and the like, but I have to say ‘By the Still Waters’ (a reference to Psalm 23) was not one of her best creations, a brief exercise in right then left hand arpeggios, a structure without shape. Of greater intensity, virtuosity and dynamism was Missy Mazzolli’s ‘Bolts of Loving Thunder’, the title referring to a poem about Popeye, Olive Oil and Sweet Pea. Actually, reading up on this later (the piece was added after the, as usual, excellent programme notes had been printed), Missy’s composition was based on Brahms’ piano music.

Victor Lim gave us a rather cool rendition of Debussy’s much-loved suite Suite Bergamasque, including the famous ‘Clair de Lune’. While perhaps not giving the dreaminess one associates with Debussy, we did appreciate his virtuosity and clarity. Mr. Lim also helpfully read an extract from the poem that was Debussy’s gloss or reference for the music.

The highlight of the evening was undoubtedly Schumann’s Kreisleriana. The title is a literary reference; the music is an outpouring of virtuosic composition, full of dramatic and dynamic contrasts. Victor’s performance was both committed and breath-taking.

We were treated also to a memorable encore in Liszt’s transcription of Schumann’s ‘Widmung’ from the song collection ‘Myrthen’.

This was a delightful recital by a young musician with a clear passion for the music of Schumann and a very engaging desire to communicate with his audience.

Charles Ritchie

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