Review of
'A Double Life - An Album Launch Concert'
(Esplanade Recital Studio, 1 Sep 2011)

The Straits Times
3 Sep 2011
by Dr Chang Tou Liang

It takes an intrepid and entrepreneurial spirit to single-handedly
produce your own CD recording and then organise a concert to
launch it. Such was the enterprise of young cellist Loke Hoe Kit,
whose attention to details as disparate as adventurous
programming, fashion and glamour, is a breath of fresh air in the
local classical music scene often accused of being too
conservative.

His recording featured duos for cello, where Loke played both
parts, a process achieved by overdubbing. Short of cloning
himself for the concert, he enlisted the help of fellow cellist Lin
Juan in this joint venture. Both men, in their twenties, seemed to
appear poles apart. Extroverted and chatty Loke, with his geeky
Korean styling, could not be more different from the silent and
introverted Lin’s suave international look.

Yet both cellists were unusually well matched in performance. For
the Singapore premiere of Gian Carlo Menotti’s neo-classical Suite
(1970), they struck a fine balance of give and take, each having
their turns in leading melodies and backing harmonies. The third
movement Arioso gave both players particularly beautiful
passages, its serenity giving way to the hustle bustle of the Finale.

The other major work was the Sonata in G minor attributed to
Handel, with both players switching parts. Although their
instruments each had different and unique voices, they blended
as one in its alternating slow and fast movements. With lots of
contrasts and colour, there was never a dull movement.

Much of the music performed is rarely heard outside of specialist
cello circles. Julius Klengel’s hymn-like Sarabande, dense with
polyphony, saw the duo struggle with maintaining perfect
intonation, In Reinhold Gliere’s Duo No.1 (from Op.53), their
intertwined parts were so well knit as to be indivisible. Not to be
forgotten was the discreet and sensitive piano accompaniment
provided by Nicholas Loh, whose burly appearance belied solid
musicianship.

Two of Anton Webern’s early tonal pieces and Gaspar Cassado’s
Toccata (in the manner of Frescobaldi) were stylishly performed,
more evidence of Loke’s ingenuity. His small coterie of fans was
rewarded with Menotti’s Arioso as an encore, a welcome double
take that concluded this substantial and enjoyable recital


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