Sunday afternoon 2:00 P.M., I went to a public library to see a live performance of seven famous piano pieces played by 16 year old Vanessa Meiling Haynes, who led a solo singing performance on the Great Wall of China in the 2008 Special Olympics Concert.
These were the songs played (in order of performance):
Johann Sebastian Bach: Prelude and Fugue No.23 in B Major BWV 868
Fryderyk Franciszek (Frédéric) Chopin: Scherzo No. 2 in B-flat Minor, Op. 31
Peter Tchaikovsky: Dumka in C Minor, Op. 59
Johannes Brahms: Ballade Op.10 No. 1 in D Minor
Claude Debussy: Toccata from Pour Le Piano suite L95
Johann Sebastian Bach: French suite No. 5 in G Major BWV 816
Ludwig van Beethoven: Piano Sonata No. 23 in F Minor Op. 57 (Appassionata) I. Allegro Assai
Franz Liszt: Ballade No. 2 in B Minor
Vanessa played wonderfully and passionately on all the pieces. She appeared to meditate for a short moment before she dived into her songs. I couldn’t believe how well she used the pedals and the dynamics were superb. The fortissimos and the mezzo fortes were over the top loud and the pianissimos were as quiet as a faint whisper. She had a lot of confidence playing the pieces, and she always bowed after each performance. Ms. Haynes memorized every single piece with great details. Memorizing hundreds of notes and trying to recite them for an hour and a half in front of a lot of people is surely a burden on anybody. Overall, Vanessa’s performance was the best I have seen in a long time.
Vanessa was a child prodigy. She appeared as a guest on several shows on China National TV. Recent, she has won first prize at the 2012 Cleveland Intl. Piano competition for Young Artists in Ohio and the 2012 Worcester Young Artists Competition in Massachusetts. She balances her piano playing with ballet and fencing. You can read more about her on her remarkable biography.
After the concert, my sister and I had a photo with Vanessa next to the baby grand piano (which the library newly acquired). She also signed her name on the program cover for my sister. I really hope I can attend another of her concerts.
Enjoy the pictures:
See you next post!