Colleen Lee plays Prokofiev

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 01 June, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 01 June, 2010, 12:00am

Colleen Lee plays Prokofiev
Hong Kong Sinfonietta
Concert Hall, HK City Hall
Reviewed: May 29

Conductor Dorian Wilson proved up to the task in a well conceived programme representing the divergent paths music took from the late 19th century.

Getting the orchestral sonorities to match wasn't always easy, but Wilson established a rapport with the audience who went along with his postage-stamp encore, Symphony from the New Territories, a witty distillation of the final moments of Dvorak's Symphony No. 9, From the New World.

Wilson gave the tuneful architecture in Dvorak's symphony the no-nonsense approach it needs and would have hit us more between the eyes if the trombones and timpani had let their hair down. When the texture got skinny, the exposure wasn't always well handled: the pace of the opening of the slow movement, for example, needed firmer control.

Colleen Lee Ka-ling was the soloist in Prokofiev's Piano Concerto No. 3. Her playing couldn't be faulted for precision, but performing on one of the Kawai clan of instruments, albeit top-of-the-range, inhibited the performance.

There were stretches in which she was barely audible against the orchestra; even in stand-alone spots the instrument was wanting in colour and resonance. Wilson seemed indifferent to the detailed potential of the score and again took a forthright approach in the outer movements. Bartok's Hungarian Sketches didn't all reflect Bartok's rustic realm: Bear Dance brought koalas to mind, while Slightly Tipsy needed a more whimsical stumble.