Recommends 3


The Strad Issue: January 2013
Description: A winningly lyrical approach to three virtuoso showpieces
Musicians: Soo-Hyun Park (violin) Deutsche Staatsphilharmonie Rheinland-Pfalz/Nicholas Milton
Composer: Wieniawski, Conus, Vieuxtemps

Wieniawski’s notorious F sharp minor Concerto, with its perilous opening chain of consecutive tenths, was for a long time the preserve of the few brave enough to take it on, most notably Michael Rabin, Itzhak Perlman, Midori and Gil Shaham. Recent years have witnessed a resurgence of interest and this latest release from Soo-Hyun Park, whose various mentors include Dora Schwarzberg, is also extremely accomplished. If the aforementioned swash their virtuoso buckles imposingly, Park places the emphasis on velvet-toned lyricism rather than pyrotechnical histrionics. She also plays with an unusually wide dynamic range, drawing the listener in with her imaginative phrasing, preferring the elegant poise of a fencing champion to piratical cut and thrust.

The same holds true for the glorious Conus Concerto in which Park exchanges the molten intensity of Jascha Heifetz and Perlman for a more overtly poetic overview. In her gifted hands, the concerto’s more exuberant flourishes seem to emerge out of passages of lyrical introspection, rather than the other way around. Interestingly it is the Vieuxtemps Fantasia that finds Park at her most unabandoned and fiery, although once again it is when the music turns reflective that she is at her most inimitable. Expert accompaniments under Nicholas Milton and a naturally balanced recording round out a fine release.