December 4th, 2010


Haochen Zhang at Jordan Hall

Last night we went to a most splendid concert at Jordan Hall.

The pianist, Haochen Zhang, is only 20 years old, having won the Van Cliburn last year.

The program in the first half had the four Chopin Ballades which are quite an earful of wonderful music. For the second half he played the Brahms Klavierstücke Op 118 (the A Major Intermezzo is one of the most beautiful pieces) followed by Piano Sonata No 1 by Alberto Ginastera, an earlier 20th century Argentinian who I'd never heard of before. It was a pretty splendid piece - with lots of notes played quite fast except for the Adagio.

For encores he played Schumann's Traumerei (one of the few things that I can sort of play) and something I think by Chopin - both were quite dreamy with lots of well chosen rubato.

The hall wasn't full - I'm suspect that some of the snobbier concert goers elected to skip an unknown - too bad, they missed quite an evening.

I read he had his debut at 5 years old playing the Bach 2-part inventions. Apparently some Van Cliburn winners never quite make it bit but I'm rooting for this guy - he is quite something. I hope he doesn't get too popular too soon and have his concerts in Symphony hall - we don't like solo concerts or chamber music in that huge space and thus miss some fine concerts.

Banana Sled racing on Easter Island

We lucked out in our timing when we heard that there was going to be Banana Sled racing one day while we were there. Contestants are decked out in body paint, almost no clothes, and sometimes feathers or other decor. There were men, women, and children who did it. The sleds are constructed from two stalks of a banana tree lashed together and the people slide down a long steep hill - usually holding their legs up in the air. I think this is only done several times a year; I don't think this was a major contest because there weren't a huge amount of spectators there. I took lots of pictures of course and a few movies. My camera isn't ideal for movies and at least once I had to scramble to get out of the way when a sled went significantly off course.


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Dancing on Easter Island

Two kinds of dancing on Easter Island. One night we went to an entertaining native dancing show. Here are a couple of fragments of what they were doing.

Then we did our own - some English Country Dancing and a couple of Contras. We danced Easter Morn but didn't do Easter Thursday because we didn't have its music.

Several fragments of English Country Dance a fragment of a Contra