Malvern Concert Club’s AGM has for many years included a recital by a gifted young musician. This year we approached Royal Birmingham Conservatoire and on 5 July were fortunate to be sent by them Edward Leung, a young American musician currently studying for his Masters degree at the Conservatoire. Apart from many achievements in the USA and abroad, Edward was recently selected as one of three pianists countrywide to participate in the 2018 Hellens Music Masterclass Programme at March Marcle, where he worked with Christian Blackshaw.
For our recital, he gave us a varied and perfectly balanced programme. Domenico Scarlatti’s Sonata in A major, K.24, opened the programme and showed Edward’s skill in this short but scintillating work. He followed this by a more substantial and profound work, Beethoven’s Sonata No.28 in A major, Op.101, where he sensitively contrasted the boisterous and the lyrical movements. After a short break, Edward gave us probably the work least familiar to our audience – Two Fairy Tales, Op.20, by Nicolai Medtner. Here, as previewed in Edward’s own excellent programme notes, he followed the composer’s instruction to the performer to unravel a tale told by a bell, where the chime ‘can be heard of calamity and terror’ – ending with such excitement that Edward virtually fell off the piano stool! Edward ended his programmed recital with Chopin’s Ballade No.4 in F minor, Op.52, in which he demonstrated (again, his words) ‘its vast emotional scope, encompassing the human experience of drama, passion, loss, and hope’.
Such was the audience reaction to his recital that Edward gave us a short encore: Rodion Shchedrin’s Humoresque – great fun and more almost-falling-off-the-piano-stool.
As our Vice President, Joseph Brand, said in his vote of thanks, Edward displayed a virtuosic technique coupled to a profound musicianship. MCC was privileged to have Edward, and still in his early twenties, he is definitely a name to watch.