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The sixteenth Chiehshou Hall Concert

The sixteenth Chiehshou Hall Concert took place this evening, with pianist Edith Chen and the Guarania Women's Chorus of Paraguay performing at the occasion. President and Mrs. Lee Teng-hui and their guests were fully entertained by the 90-minute music program.


The concert started at 7:30 p.m. in Chiehshou Hall of the Presidential Office. Among the audience were Vice President and Mrs. Lien Chan, senior government officials and their spouses, visiting First Lady of Paraguay Teresa Carrasco de Wasmosy and her delegation, former President and Mrs. Luis Alberto Lacalle of Uruguay, and foreign ambassadors and representatives to the Republic of China and their spouses.


Prior to the concert, President Lee thanked his guests for joining him on this occasion, especially Mrs. Wasmosy and former President and Mrs. Lacalle. Meanwhile, he expressed to the foreign envoys his sincere gratitude for their commitment to promoting relations with the ROC, and his desire for an even closer relationship with these countries. Following the President's introduction of the performers, the concert started.


During the first half of the concert, Ms. Chen's piano solo of three Chopin pieces and one Rachmaninov sonata enchanted the audience.


Ms. Chen began with Polonaise, Op. 53 (Heroic), a work created at the zenith of Chopin's career. It is a grandiose piece in which thematic invention, a kaleidoscopic variety of tone color and unique harmony, modulation, and rhythm form a mixture of extreme richness. The epic and heroic gestures of this piece have provoked a total legend. Most elaborate of all is the middle section, beginning with the distinct ostinato and the double crescendo of epic proportions. Later this expression gives way to a different range of ideas, which softens the tension and recaptures the first section with great effect.


Chopin's Ballade No.4 in F minor, Op.52 contains certain sonata procedures that are intersected with improvisatory feeling and freedom of form. It is a set of three variations on a theme, interspersed with ever-expanding episodes in the subdominant key. It's refined style makes the piece one of his best compositions.


Nocturne in D-flat is perhaps the most voluptuous of all Chopin's nocturnes. Opulent harmonic sophistication and moving sighs and whispers of the decorative passages, which interrupt the steady rhythm of the accompaniment, characterizes this supreme Parisian salon piece.


Rachmaninov's Piano Sonata No.2 in B flat minor contains three movements: Allegro agitato, Non allegro and Allegro molto. It adopts plenty of bell-like sonorities, as in the magnificent climax of the first movement's development section, in the slow movement's central episode, and in odd melodic and harmonic turns and patterns throughout. The typical motto theme of Rachmaninov, the first subject of the movement, reappears in the section of Non allegro and Allegro molto.


The second half of the program was filled with the beautiful sound of the world-renowned Guarania Women's Chorus. Guarania is Paraguayan folk music and is known as the music best representing Paraguayan culture. Consisting of 12 singers, the chorus travels widely to perform at home and abroad, and impresses its audience with songs depicting love for the motherland.


Delicately and passionately, the chorus presented four songs: The Motherland in My Dream, Vibrant Soul, Remembrances of the Ypacarai, and Long Live Life. Its performance captured the ardent love for the motherland and life, expressed in the lyrics and won the chorus resounding applause from the audience.


Accompanied by the guitar and the harp, the singer of the trio Asuncion conveyed the composer's love for and memory of the Paraguayan capital city of Asuncion.


The solo singers of My Sweet Land and I Love My Motherland demonstrated, by their sweet voices, the Paraguayan people's passion, vigor and love for their motherland. The chorus also played the unique Paraguayan harp solo Bell Bird in a light and lively rhythm, symbolizing the optimism and simplicity of the Paraguayan people.


To show its respect and appreciation, the chorus presented President and Mrs. Lee with a traditional Paraguayan costume and hand-made embroidery. Amid the audience's wholehearted applause, the chorus gave two encores, Looking Forward to Spring Breeze and Sowing, before concluding the concert.


After the concert, President and Mrs. Lee received Ms. Chen and members of the Paraguayan chorus at a reception room in the Presidential Office, and expressed his sincere gratitude again for their marvelous performances.

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