BALI CLASSICAL NIGHTS / Bali Tugu Hotel / Wednesday 28 December 2011

The first evening of Bali Classical Nights took place on Wednesday (28 December 2011) at the luxurious Bali Tugu Hotel on Canggu beach. The splendid setting was a Balinese stage complete with a Garuda and a Yamaha grand piano specially flown in from Jakarta. The roar of the surf, clicking of geckos and the occasional firework going off provided a typically Balinese counterpoint to the proceedings. The heady spirit of Bali during the 1930s, of luminaries like Walter Spies, Colin McPhee, Rudolf Bonnet, Margaret Mead, Miguel and Martha Covarrubias, was relived albeit for a couple of hours...


Opening the concert was Korean violinist Yoojin Jung and Montenegrin pianist Boris Kraljevic in Dvorak's Humoresque. Yoojin played a short improvised prelude to begin.



Tou Liang tried his best in the late Intermezzo in A major (Op.118 No.2) by Brahms, in between his emcee duties.


Korean flautist Beomjae Kim performed an unaccompanied Fantasy by Telemann and Caprice No.23 by Sigfried Karg-Elert, an impressive show of sensitivity and virtuosity.


Then it was Boris's turn to go solo, with Franz Liszt's Sposalizio from his Années de pélérinage, inspired by Raphael's painting "Marriage of the Virgin".


A segment of the enthusiastic audience, seated on three sides of the stage.


Bali-based Russian-Armenian pianist Ruzanna Staroverova produced a stunning display of digital dexterity in Arno Babajanian's Poem.


Accompanied by Boris, Hong Kong soprano Nancy Yuen sang two Chinese songs, I Live At The Source of the Yangtze River and The Green Pastures of July.


The sound of 6-hands piano opened the second half, when Boris, Neil Franks and Tou Liang played Rachmaninov's Romance, written for the three Skalon sisters. Neil had the honour of playing the introduction, which later appears in the slow movement of the Second Piano Concerto.


A glorious examplar of the hallowed French flute school, Philippe Bernold played Francis Poulenc's Flute Sonata, all three lovely movements, with Boris at the piano.


Neil Franks, the British gentleman who was the inspiration behind Bali Classical Nights, performed the Petrarch Sonnet No.123 by Liszt.


Nancy completed her programme with a Bellini arietta and Verdi's Ah forse lui... Sempre libera, Violetta's big coloratura aria from La Traviata.


To conclude the formal programme, Yoojin and Boris returned for the rousing Danse Macabre by Saint-Saens, with its diablerie enthralling the full-house audience.


An obviously chuffed Boris played a sublime encore, with Debussy's Bruyeres from Preludes Book Two.


All the performers take a final bow, after an enjoyable evening of music-making.