Thursday, March 22, 2012

Salon at the Rex: Beijing Guitar Duo

Salon at the Rex Hotel, 03.21.2012 Salon at the Rex Hotel.After having to relocate to the Adagio Hotel, San Francisco Performance's salon series has unexpectedly moved back to Hotel Rex for the rest of the season. The Beijing Guitar Duo performed their hour-long program from memory & emphasized technical proficiency & precise ensemble. The Sontina by Castelnuovo-Tedesdo was played with delicacy. Meng Su introduced the selections & told us that Assad wrote Maracaípe for them. The title refers to a beach in Brazil, whose beauty & melancholy inspired the composer.

The duo played guitar arrangements of 5 of the Eight Memories in Watercolor, originally a piano piece by an 18-year-old Tan Dun. Its folk song melodies are sometimes galloping, sometimes watery. Since the guitar is so quiet, it was easy to hear the click of someone's digital camera during the final movement. The program ended with a suite by 20th century Brazilian composer Radamés Gnattali. Each of the movements is named for a Brazilian composer, & the music is gently lilting & relaxing.

In the Q&A afterward, we learned that Yameng Wang was forced to start practicing the guitar at a very young age by her father, who was an amateur guitarist. At the time she hated it, but she now thinks her father was right. We also learned that the duo feel it is important for them to perform without music, even though memorization is a challenge.

§ Salon at the Rex
Beijing Guitar Duo
Meng Su
Yameng Wang

Castelnuovo-Tedesco: Sonatina Canonica, Op. 196
Assad: Maracaípe
Tan Dun (arr. Manuel Barrueco): Eight Memories in Watercolor, Op. 1
Gnattali: Suite Retratos

Wednesday, March 21
6:30 pm
Hotel Rex

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