Concert Hall, Hong Kong City Hall Reviewed: May 27 The Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra have played with more world-class soloists than usual under the helm of artistic director Edo de Waart - most notably when Emanuel Ax joined them in performing Brahms' second piano concerto in November. Expectations were high last weekend, when young Korean-American violinist Sarah Chang (right) played Shostakovich's first violin concerto, with Samuel Wong at the podium. Chang's fiery rendition of exuberant and romantic pieces with the English Chamber Orchestra already dazzled local audiences in December 2003. This time, she showed a new, unusual addition to her repertoire with Shostakovich's first violin concerto. Written in the dark days of Stalinist Russia, the concerto is a profound meditation on suffering and political oppression whose haunting cadenza ends with a defiant, frenetic dance. Chang subdued her style for this work in an effort to convey its depth, and she deployed her immaculate technique to weave, with unaffected relentlessness, a stream of regret, remorse, screaming pain and self-assertion through the music. Some real-life thunder from the storm outside lent an eerie, poignant touch to a performance that was sympathetically supported by the orchestra. Wong also conducted the orchestra through Shostakovich's Festive Overture and the 1947 concert version of Stravinsky's Petrushka. The conductor could always unleash a billowing, bass-oriented and heart-on- sleeve sonority, but although the orchestra's principals played with virtuosity, the overture seemed to drag, and Petrushka is a work that requires much more subtlety, sharper contrast and precision in balance and musicians' rapport.