Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Unsuk Chin, Kent Nagano, Mso|
Unsuk Chin: Violin Concerto / Rocanį
For their second album on the Analekta label, Kent Nagano and the OSM explore Korean composer Unsuk Chin's artistic landscape. Chin's music is modern in language, but lyrical in communicative power. The colour of her music... more »
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For their second album on the Analekta label, Kent Nagano and the OSM explore Korean composer Unsuk Chin's artistic landscape. Chin's music is modern in language, but lyrical in communicative power. The colour of her music might be explained by Chin's affinity for non-European music and by her occupation with electronic music. This recording principal work, the prestigious Grawemeyer award-winning Violin Concerto, Viviane Hagner shows an almost hauntingly masterful display of technique and artistry. Also on this CD, the iridescent Rocanà, a commission by Maestro Nagano.
A major contemporary violin concerto
Christopher Culver | 01/13/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This disc was long-awaited. Unsuk Chin's violin concerto is one of the greatest achievements in that genre for some years and it famously won the Grawemeyer Award in 2004. Until now, fans had to be content with a low-quality radio recording passed around, but Analekta has finally brought us a beautifully sounding CD where the Violin Concerto is performed by the same soloist and conductor as the premiere -- Viviane Hagner and Kent Nagano -- with the Orchestre symphonique de Montreal. Plus, we get one of the composer's more talked about orchestral works.
Unsuk Chin's music is a wash of microtonal writing with a great sense of whimsy and child-like unrestraint. The four-movement Violin Concerto (2003) displays Chin's characteristic soundworld from the very start, as the violin enters on a simple two-note slow back and forth that suddenly flies into bouncy rhythms as the orchestra joins in, led by all manner of pitched percussion. In Chin's climaxes, gestures seem to fly about randomly, but the overall harmony of her writing is never compromised. The second movement is a slow one, with a remarkable ending with the violin is played at the extreme of its register. The third movement is a brief scherzo, while the last movement refers back to the first and leads to completion. The form is classical, but the variety of sounds within is anything but predictable, and the insane virtuosity of this part matched to a warm and attractive line makes this all the more appealing.
While the Violin Concerto continues all the unique features Chin's music was known for, "Rocana" for orchestra (2008) sounds rather different. The sense of capriciousness is gone, and instead we find slow, calculated spectralist soundscapes that sound more like the music of Marc-Andre Dalbavie than anything else. However, it is an extremely beautiful piece, becoming only more captivating over its 20-minute span, and Chin's hope to musically represent a play of lights seems very successful.
This is a live recording with brief applause at the end of each piece, but as I said, it is nonetheless superb-sounding. If you've never heard Unsuk Chin's music before, I wholeheartedly recommend this disc as well as the earlier DG disc with other fine pieces. I have heard some uncertainty about the longterm greatness of Chin's music, as some think it a bit too appealing, but who cares, there's so much fun you could be having right now. Really, get this."
Unafraid to be modern
Personne | Rocky Mountain West | 01/31/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Far too many composers of Unsuk Chin's generation have opted for an inoffensive, pasty way of writing. They have backed fearfully away from the bracing ground staked out by Boulez, Messian, Ligeti, Lutoslawski and the other greats of that generation. Instead we get a pseudo-Coplinesque style that's guaranteed to please nervous orchestra boards.
Unsuk Chin is having none of that. She is a modernist in the best sense of the word. While blessed with a broad-ranging lyricism and a vivid sense of orchestration, she doesn't pander. This is music that embraces our own time. The Violin Concerto places huge demands on the soloist. Viviane Hagner really gets her teeth into it, with the appropriate balance of flash and musicality. Chin doesn't shy away from the potential drama of a big concerto either--in many ways she has a classical heroic approach to the form.
The companion piece, Rocana, may be the more interesting piece of the two. It is a pure orchestral piece of about 21 minutes in duration. Beginning with aggressive jabs against a quiet background, it is quite satisfying. There's some really good brass writing in there, too.
A search on Amazon for Chin's music brings up only a single brief page of recordings. I hope that gets fixed. I'm sure there's a lot more to hear."