The centrepiece of the
Postures is a big, three-movement work, cast in some respects along traditional lines, with overtones of Ravel and Stravinsky in the scoring. But the title derives from kung fu and the complex piano writing aligns western virtuosity with eastern ideas of the martial artist as a spiritually focused athlete. The piano's percussive qualities are stressed throughout. Haefliger's rapid-fire figurations are tracked and echoed by a huge array of orchestral percussion.
During the slow movement, he bends into the body of the instrument and strikes the strings with his hands to produce bell-like sounds that suggest ritual solemnity. It's not perfect. Zhou can repeat ideas too often. There are discursive passages, and only the hair-raising finale feels compact. But it's a sensational tour de force from Haefliger, and a fine display of orchestral bravado for the SSO and Shui.
Russian music formed the rest of the programme, which kicked off with a driven, rather unyielding account of the overture to Glinka's
Impeccable . . . the SSO's
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