Review of George Harliono and Adelaide Harlionos playing in St. Peter and St. Paul Church, Chatteris for the Chatteris Music Society on Saturday 29th June 2013

At the age of 12, George Harliono is undoubtedly one of UK’s child prodigies. The phenomenal technique and maturity of expression he demonstrated in some of the pieces in this concert were on a par with adult professional performers. He also showed skill as an accompanist, adjusting his touch on the piano perfectly to support his 8-year old sister playing the ‘cello.

George began with a magic performance of Johann Sebastian Bach’s Fantasia and Fugue in A minor BWV904. Expecting a rather mechanical performance because of his age, I was overwhelmed with the maturity of understanding in George’s playing. Although some may insist that the crescendo should not be used because it did not exist in Bach’s time, nor in fact did the piano, George was quite right to greatly increase or diminish the volume, alter his touch significantly and use all the expressive devices of the piano he could. As a result Bach’s interwoven fabric of interplaying and overlapping voices came to life. While appearing perfectly at ease, George transfixed the audience with that special tension that is created in such a phenomenal performance as this.

Of his other solo performances, Maurice Ravel’s Alborada del Gracioso, a complex and technically demanding work, was another highlight of the evening. His fingers flew over the keys or paused potently on important notes creating an exhilarating feeling of Spanish flamboyance and character. He integrated the variety of challenging rhythms, rapid flourishes, and punctuated episodes into one amazing whole experience.

His other excellent offerings were Beethoven’s Piano Sonata No.21 in C major ‘Waldstein’ Op.53, Liszt’s La Campanella and a much deserved encore Chopin’s Scherzo No.1.

8-year old Adelaide, his sister, was another very talented performer who played her ‘cello very well. Her tone and expression mesmerised the audience with her performances of Massenet’s Elegie Op10.no5, Mendelssohn’s Song without Words Op. 109, Schumann’s Fantasiestuck No.1 Op 73 and Faure’s Elegie Op24.

This was indeed a wonderful evening.

The next concert will feature Charles Owen (pianist) with Hertfordshire Chamber Orchestra on Saturday 7th September in the Parish Church Chatteris at 7 pm (phone 01354 669104/692009).

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