A fascinating recital performed brilliantly by Rob Hao

by | Sep 10, 2023 | Ambassador thoughts, Composer, Piano

Schubert Overwritten | Rob Hao

Friday September 8, 2023, Utzon Room, Sydney Opera House

We were treated to a fascinating recital at the Utzon Room with the additional benefit of a great harbour backdrop. Titled “Overwritten”, all the works were written by Franz Schubert and completed or transcribed by other composers. 

Two of these pieces were unfinished Sonatas, the first being The Relique D840. In the program notes, it was stated that no one knew the reason for its non-completion. I postulate that compared to other Sonatas, the composer realised that it doesn’t cut the mustard!  Simple chords are repeated with octave accentuation and though there are some similarities to the main theme of the opening of his last Sonata D960, it does not receive the same exquisite development. The following Andante movement is also simplistic. Fragments of the final two movements exist, particularly the Trio, and we next heard an adaptation of these by Michael Finnissy, a contemporary  English composer. I have listened to Sviatoslav Richter’s version and could detect no similarity in content or style in this modern version to the original. 

Although written much earlier, the one movement which remains of Sonata in F Sharp minor D571 is more mature with typical Schubertian major/minor modulations and intricate thematic development. Pianist Rob Hao then played his own interpretation of the work’s completion. This was easy to listen to with faithfulness to the nature of the original.  

Liszt of course wrote many transcriptions for piano of other composers’ works and we then heard two Schubert songs thus treated. Der Doppelganger was little altered from the original song of desperation while the more familiar Der Müller und der Bach was beautifully sculpted to enhance the feeling of the original. 

We also heard our own Elena Kats-Chernin’s energetic piece The Schubert Blues. It starts with repeated grace notes and trills on the top three notes of the piano and swings on from there – although the multiple modulations were typical of the composer, I must confess that I couldn’t identify the supposed references to the Death and the Maiden quartet. 

These widely different pieces were all performed brilliantly by Rob Hao. He was born in New Zealand but grew up in Australia and he is now based in London. Now in his mid-twenties, he studied in Sydney with Ransford Elsley. He did not seem exhausted by the long varied program – which is more than can be said of this listener! 

 

 

Calendar of Events

M Mon

T Tue

W Wed

T Thu

F Fri

S Sat

S Sun

0 events,

0 events,

0 events,

3 events,

2 events,

Featured -

Salut! Baroque | The Influencers

4 events,

7 events,

Featured -

Salut! Baroque | The Influencers

0 events,

1 event,

2 events,

4 events,

3 events,

7 events,

6 events,

2 events,

2 events,

Featured -

Joyce Yang | Kaleidescope Colours

2 events,

-

Austral Harmony | Bella Partita

-

Bicentenary Concert Series

2 events,

4 events,

9 events,

Coriole Music Festival | 2024

8 events,

1 event,

0 events,

3 events,

Featured -

Camerata | Karin Schaupp: Serenade

3 events,

-

Austral Harmony | Bella Partita

4 events,

Featured -

Highlands Music Collective | Vienna Gold

Featured -

Camerata | Karin Schaupp: Serenade

4 events,

3 events,

0 events,

0 events,

2 events,

3 events,

4 events,

Pinchgut Opera | Dido and Aeneas

Event Series
Featured -

Camerata | in Concert – Monto

5 events,

7 events,

-

Sydney Con Jazz Festival