A lively concert at Royal Cliff

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There was an appreciative audience at the recent “In the Spirit of Classical Music” recital held at the Royal Cliff Grand Hotel featuring pianist and soprano Larisa Ezhelenko and composer-pianist Marcus Tristan. 

The recital presented by the Rotary Club of Jomtien-Pattaya on 14 October was considered auspicious as it also marked the reopening of the luxurious property after months of meticulous renovations and upgrading of their facilities and outlets.

Larisa Ezhelenkos, a new, bright and beautiful soprano star shines over Pattaya.

Larisa Ezhelenkos, a new, bright and beautiful soprano star shines over Pattaya.Larisa Ezhelenkos, a new, bright and beautiful soprano star shines over Pattaya.

Larisa Ezhelenko hails from Novosibirsk, the third most populated city in Russia after Moscow and St. Petersburg.  It lies in south western Siberia on the banks of the Ob River, only a few hundred miles from the border with Kazakhstan.

Larisa studied at the Specialist Music School attached to Novosibirsk Academy of Music and later studied piano and voice at the Novosibirsk Academy.  Her programme at the Royal Cliff included works ranging from the English Renaissance composer John Dowland to the 20th century Henry Mancini.  Larisa’s clear and focused voice was ideal for Dowland’s expressive lute-song Come Again; Sweet Love Doth Now Invite, and it was a pleasure to hear her singing perfectly in tune.

Seven-year-old Ben Khinkhunthod, an exceptionally talented child prodigy won the hearts of the whole audience.Seven-year-old Ben Khinkhunthod, an exceptionally talented child prodigy won the hearts of the whole audience.

Her performance of the soprano aria Lascia ch’io pianga from Handel’s 1711 opera Rinaldo, was beautifully paced and controlled.  Larisa also proved herself a very capable pianist too, with a performance of the Chopin Waltz in C sharp minor and the more famous Waltz in D flat, better known as The Minute Waltz, which contrary to popular belief is pronounced my-newt rather than minnit.

In the songs Larisa was accompanied by Marcus Tristan who currently lives in Pattaya.  Born in the English West-Midlands town of Stourbidge, he composed his first piano piece at the age of three.  In 1990 he completed his studies at London’s Royal Academy of Music with an honours degree in musical composition and then spent a few months studying with the distinguished French composer Olivier Messiaen.

Vutikorn Kamolchote (right) President of the Rotary Club of Jomtien-Pattaya congratulates and thanks the stars for an outstanding performance.Vutikorn Kamolchote (right) President of the Rotary Club of Jomtien-Pattaya congratulates and thanks the stars for an outstanding performance.

Marcus has composed hundreds of pieces of music and has recently completed his tenth symphony.  Until four years ago he was Associate Composer with the St. Petersburg State Symphony Orchestra Klassika and has a long-standing relationship with St. Petersburg Chamber Choir and with Britain’s Fitzwilliam String Quartet.

He provided sensitive piano accompaniments for the soprano solos and also played a couple of his own compositions, notably the Fantasy XI from his sci-fi opera Solntsegrad which seemed to show the influence of his studies with Messiaen.

Antonello Passa (right) GM of the Royal Cliff Hotels Group presents a bouquet to Larisa and Marcus.Antonello Passa (right) GM of the Royal Cliff Hotels Group presents a bouquet to Larisa and Marcus.

The recital also included a couple of piano performances by seven-year-old Ben Khinkhunthod who delighted the audience with his confident performance of Das Ballett by the eighteenth century Daniel Gottlob Türk.  In his piano duet with Marcus Tristan, young Ben received rapturous applause for his lively playing in Scooby Doo Boogie.

The concert concluded with a piece by the somewhat obscure Zequinha de Abreu, a Brazilian composer who has the distinction of being known for only one piece.  It’s called Tico Tico no Fuba, which surprisingly means “Sparrow in the Corn-meal” and written in 1917.  It was given a lively four-hands-on-the-piano performance by Larisa and Marcus and played with such panache that an encore was demanded, providing a fitting end to a most enjoyable recital.

Rotarians and guests packed the Royal Cliff Grand Hotel lobby to watch this most extraordinary concert.