By Lee Poh Lin (New Sunday Times, 24/12/2004)
You would surely want to forget the time a bee stung you. But you would find it difficult to do so with Maksim Mrvica’s version of the Bumblebee. When he takes flight on his piano at almost buzzing speed, you are stung silly by his enormous talent.
It could also explain why many of those who had come to see him play at Genting Highlands’ Arena of Stars recently, were the very ones who attended his previous concert.
“I was at his concert last April. He was great. I think that’s one of the best shows I’ve ever attended. But now that I have seen this, I feel he’s getting better,” said Shahida Salleh, 20.
Another diehard fan, Naqim Abdullah, 23, couldn’t agree more. “He plays wonderfully. It must lie in the fact that he is so immersed in his music. He just lets go and loses himself in the numbers. His passion touches my soul!”
Siblings, Serene Chun, 21, Evan, 19, and Winnie, 15, came all the way from Johor Baru to watch their favourite star in action. “He puts his emotions in his music and we hope to see him again next year,” said Serene, as her siblings nodded in agreement.
That’s Maksim’s fans for you. Indeed, by as early as 7 pm, thousands were already glued to their seats for the 8.30 p.m. show. And when the pianist finally appeared, the crowd was hysterical. He wasted no time and performing his first song, Kolibre which was greeted with thunderous applause. Then when he said: “It’s great to be here tonight. The support tonight is better than the concert I did in Bukit Jalil last April”, the crowd just lost it. It went wild. One couldn’t help but be captivated as he deftly displayed his talent on the piano.
The Croatian continued to mesmerise the crowd with his up-tempo numbers – Amazonic, Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence and Bohemian Rhapsody from his new album Variations Part I & II.
He delivered every key with precision, purpose and passion. However, his intensity was most evident when he delivered Rimsky Korsakov’s Flight of the Bumblebee.
“We could feel his love for the music! He has succeeded in bridging the gap with the audience through his amazing talent,” said Rachel Cheong, 15, one of the YouthQuake’s “Maksim Contest” winners who received tickets to the show.
Maksim ended his show on a high note, playing Totentanz and Pag Rag Variations which he composed based on a theme by Paganini.
Although the concert lasted less than an hour, it nevertheless gave Maksim-um impact that left the audience inspired by his music.