Violinist MinJin at the Wigmore Hall
LONDON - 25
September 2001 - In boxing terms, the Korean violinist MinJin
might be put into the featherweight class. But make no mistake about
it: this slight-framed young woman, now in her twenty-third year,
packs a punch that could make many of the heavyweights rock back on
On her second appearance at the Wigmore Hall in
eighteen months in the company of the pianist Gordon Back, she
performed a programme made up of relentless demands in musicality and
virtuosity and she met these with consummate power, ease and charm.
a self-confessed admirer of Fritz Kreisler, she opened her recital
with a forthright and lyrical account of the great violinist's short
Grave in the style of W.F.Bach, an excellent introduction to
Beethoven's Sonata in G, op. 30 no 3 in which she and the
pianist were admirable in expressiveness and sensitivity. Indeed, in
the slow movement, there were overtones of the legendary recording of
the work by Kreisler and Rachmaninov. Yet the whole of the performance
was imbued with the purest clacissism.
This was followed by
Ravel's Sonata No. 1 in G, a vast change of mood, and it was
fascinating to observe just how well MinJin succeeded in capturing
both the "Frenchness" of the work and its transatlantic
savour. Rarely can the "blues" movement have been performed
with such seductive conviction both by violinist and pianist.
second half of the concert could be awarded the title "Fiddler's
Delight". Works by Prokofiev (his challenging Sonata for solo
violin in D op 115), by Paganini, Massenet and Sarasate were
performed with a combination of charm, breath-taking virtuosity and
the occasional moment of sheer fun - MinJin is one of the few
violinists around who can make you want to laugh out loud with the
enjoyment of a simple turn of phrase. As for her rendering of Ruggiero
Ricci's adaptation of Francisco Tarrega's great guitar piece, Recuerso
de la Alhambra, there are not many adjectives around to describe
it, but "bewitching" has to be amongst them.
can be no doubt that MinJin's playing is now firmly marked with the
stamp of her mentor, Ruggiero Ricci, whose wise counsel over recent
years has enabled her to retain all her individuality yet at the same
time acquire the means to express it with security and conviction. Her
tone is free and of impressive power. Her left-hand technique is
dazzling, yet her playing is driven by her bow arm, always the hall
mark of a great string player.
A packed house at the Wigmore
Hall last night made it abundantly clear that it was full of gratitude
for an enchanting display of old-fashioned musical values.
Sidgwick writes on music in Britain and France for Culturekiosque.com.
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