Cory Shen in Concert at The Great Hall Royal Courts of Justice, NI

The Bar Music and Drama Society of the Royal Courts of Justice hosted Cory Shen and pupils of RBAI in concert on Saturday 10th November 2012. Cory Shen is currently in Upper Sixth and is recognised as a most promising concert pianist with an extensive and impressive repertoire. He won first prize at the Rose of Sharon Cup at the South Korean and China International Competition in 2005. He performed at the Waterfront Hall, Belfast in April 2010 and was invited by the BBC to play at Armagh Cathedral for a Radio Ulster recording in February 2012. 

Cory manages to fit in at least two hours piano practice a day in addition to studying for his A- Levels. He intends to pursue a career in music and has applied to study at the Royal Academy of Music in London. 

The concert programme included the following:

1. The Piano Sonata No 23 was composed by Ludvig van Beethoven (1770 to 1827) during 1804 and 1805 and is considered one of the three great piano sonatas of his middle period. The first movement, Allegro assai, moves quickly through startling changes in tone and dynamics. The second, Andante con moto, is a set of variations in D flat major, on a theme of sixteen bars consisting of common chords, set in a series of four and two bar phrases that all end on the tonic. The third movement, Allegro ma non troppo- Presto, is a sonata- allegro in near perpetual motion, with rapid sixteenth notes that are interrupted only in the development and in the coda.

2. J.S. Bach composed his Concerto for Two Violins in D minor, also known as the Double Violin Concerto, between 1717 and 1723, when he was the Kappellmeister to Prince Leopold at Anhalt- Kothen. During this six year period Bach’s main compositional output was for the court chamber orchestra and included violin concertos, sonatas and suites as well as the famous six Brandenburg Concertos. The Double Violin Concerto itself is sometimes categorised as a baroque concerto grosso, because it features more than one solo instrument. Daniel Murphy and John Darling play the second movement, Largo ma non tanto, which is a Sicilian dance in 12/8 time. The two instruments engage in a dialogue based on short ideas or fragments heard in four sections of the music

3. Maurice Ravel(1875-1937) originally composed his Pièce en forme de Habanera for bass voice and piano in 1907. A song without words, Ravel took as his model the slow, sultry Spanish dance called the habanera. The work was later arranged for other instruments and was played by Luke Hastings on trumpet, with a piano accompaniment by Anne Reid.

4. After studying in London at the Cologne Conservatory, Felix Borowski (1872 to 1956) taught at the Chicago Musical College and later at Northwestern University. A violinist and composer, he also served as critic for several American newspapers including the Chicago Sun. Adoration is one of his compositions for violin, renowned for its beautiful melodic line.

5. Francis Poulenc (1899-1963) was largely self- taught as a composer. Trois Mouvements Perpétuels was among his first compositions, written in 1918 and premiered the following year by Viňes. The three short pieces owe much to the Gymnopedies of his great friend and contemporary Erik Satie and are imbued with influences of French harpsichord music from the 18th century.

6. Ballade No. 1 in G minor, Op. 23, was composed by Chopin in 1835-36 during the composer’s early years in Paris and was dedicated to Monsieur le Baron de Stockhausen, the Hanoverian ambassador to France. It appears to have been one of Chopin’s own favourite works; Robert Schumann commented in a letter: “I received a new Ballade from Chopin. It seems to be a work closest to his genius (although not the most ingenious) and I told him that I like it best of all his compositions. After quite a lengthy silence he replied with emphasis, “I am happy to hear this since I too like it most and hold it dearest.” As a whole, the piece is structurally complex and not strictly confined to any particular form, but incorporates ideas from mainly the sonata and variation forms.

7. Moon Reflected on Second Spring was composed and played by Huà Yànjūn, more commonly known as “Blind” A’bing, a street performer. It was traditionally played on the erhu, a two-stringed bowed instrument with a box resonator. Its melodic lines reflect the grief and sadness of its composer, a victim of illness, war and destruction. It has become a classic piece of folk music beloved across China.

8. Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2 is the second in a set of 19 Hungarian Rhapsodies by Franz Liszt (1811 to 1886). The Hungarian born composer and pianist was strongly influenced by the music heard in his youth, particularly Hungarian Folk music, with its unique gypsy scale, rhythmic spontaneity and direct, seductive expression. Composed in 1847 and dedicated to Count László Teleki, Hungarian Rhapsody No 2 was first published as a piano solo in 1851. By the late 19th century and early 20th century, the excruciating technical challenges of the piano solo version led to its acceptance as the unofficial standard by which every notable pianist would “prove his salt”. The piece consists of two distinct sections, the serious and dramatic lassan, followed by the friska, with its simple alternating tonic and dominant harmonization, its energetic, toe-tapping rhythms, and breath-taking “pianistics.”

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Cory Shen, Mrs Reid, Mrs Shen

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Principal, Cory and Mrs Shen

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Mrs Reid and Mr Bolton - M.B.E.

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Mr and Mrs C Gowdy, Lady Carswell, Mr and Mrs S Gowdy

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Mr and Mrs McKinstry and Miss Williamson

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                                                   John Darling                                                                 Luke Hastings

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Daniel Murphy

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Sixth Form Volunteers at the concert to welcome guests

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Miss J Williamson MA OXON; NPQH

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