Thursday, March 8, 2012

Repaying Mum

In 1970 the Korean violinist Kyung-Wha Chung was just 22. Her recording of the Sibelius and Tchaikovsky concertos with the LSO and Andre Previn is, and rightly so, a Decca legendary recording (475 7734). This debut album brought her international fame, and no doubt went some way to helping repay her mother who three years earlier had sold the family home to buy the budding star her first Stradivarius. Chung's playing is reminiscent of the verve and passion du Pre brought to the Elgar cello concerto. Chung manages to extract the same tonal quality from her Strad and matches du Pre in edginess.

I started to write that the Sibelius concerto, after an exquisite start, seemed to lose its way (the piece not the playing), with far too many themes and half themes; but listening now for the third time to the first movement, it is all beginning to make sense! It is definitely growing on me.

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