Min Kym – Lalo-Sarasate-Prokofiev-Kroll-Tarrega – London Symphony Orchestra -CB5256
£9.99 – £15.99
“Min Kym has exceptional natural talent, mature musicality of the violin“
Sir George Solti
EDOUARD LALO (1823-1892) Symphonie Espagnole, Op.21
Allegro non troppo Scherzando: Allegro molto Intermezzo: Allegretto non troppo Andante Rondo: Allegro
Lalo was bom into a family of Spanish origin that had long been settled in France. Originally trained as a violinist and with an early career in a string quartet, his real genius lies in extraordinary and wholly original orchestration which anticipated many of the most beautiful scores of the impressionists.
Many of Lalo’s most performed works have a Spanish flavour. The “Spanish Symphony”, written in 1874 for the virtuoso violinist Pablo de Sarasate, displays many characteristic Spanish elements, with cross-rhythms, dance forms, folk-song melodies and orchestral pizzicato imitating guitars. Originally conceived in four movements (the central Intermezzo was added later) the work combines concerto, symphonic suite and character piece for solo violin.
The violin is immediately introduced as a solo instrument in the first movement – Allegro non troppo. The incisive rhythm and character of harmony gives this movement its Spanish element. The Scherzando is a playful waltz, with orchestral pizzicato imitating guitars. Cross-rhythms in the solo violin between 3/8 and 3/4 gives an original eloquence to the lyrical middle section. In the Intermezzo a 3+2 rhythm in the violin part is featured, framed in a ternary format. The only introspective and poignant movement in the entire work is the fourth movement – Andante. Many commentators have remarked on the Spanish folk-song qualities of the melodies here. The emotion of this movement is complex, building and releasing tension, and preparing for the Finale with its sensuous rondo theme evoking the feeling of a Spanish Habanera, alternating back and forth between duplets and triplets. It is a Finale in the truest sense, releasing every ounce of virtuosity that was reserved in the preceding movements. The coda is particularly frenetic for the soloist, requiring left-hand pizzicato and pizzicato glissandi.
Symphonie Espagnole has achieved enduring popularity and made Lalo’s name known worldwide.
PABLO SARASATE (1844-1908) Concert Fantasie on Carmen
Pablo Martin Melitón de Sarasate was born in Pamplona, the son of a military bandmaster. He began to play the violin at the age of five, and his precocity aroused such interest that he was awarded sponsorship to study at Madrid, and then helped by Queen Isabella, at the Paris Conservatoire where he won the premier prix in violin at the age of 13. His subsequent concert tours brought him fame in every country in Europe as well as in North and South America.
The gypsy opera ‘Carmen’, written by Georges Bizet in 1874, initially had a poor reception with his Parisian audience – and the press found it a scandal. Once the opera reached Vienna, however, it rapidly gained popularity worldwide and within ten years Sarasate wrote this fantasy on some of the more colourful items of the score. He produced one of the most exciting of all virtuoso pieces for the violin.
Sarasate begins with the lively Jota – or fiesta dance that comes from the entracte before the fatal last act of the bull ring in Seville, jumps back to the provocative Habanera with which Carmen entertains her admirers outside the cigarette factory in the first act, alludes to her taunting Tra la la la la la when she refuses to answer questions about the fight she has got involved in, goes on from there to her seductive Seguidilla with its promise of erotic adventure to come in the evening and ends with the exhilarating Gypsy Song performed by Carmen and her two companions at Lilias Pastia’s bar later on the same day. At the same time the Fantasy is a devastatingly heroic self-portrait of Sarasate himself, who draws on a wide repertoire of violin techniques – from multi-stopping to high harmonics and from left-hand pizzicato to flying staccato – to apply his own distinctive colouring to Bizet’s music.
WILLIAM KROLL (1901-1980) arr. John Bradbury Banjo & Fiddle
Kroll was influential figure in American violin music, specialising in Chamber music and founding the Kroll Quartet in 1944. His published music includes works for string quartet, chamber orchestra and solo violin. The short piece Banjo and Fiddle was written in 1945, was first recorded by Jascha Heifetz in 1947, and has become a favourite with virtuosos as an encore item. Originally for violin and piano, it is performed here in an arrangement for violin and strings by John Bradbury. The piquancy of the pizzicato ‘banjo’ phrases are a foil to the bowed ‘fiddle’ passages, creating a humourous pastiche.
SERGEY PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) Sonata for solo violin in I) (Op.l 15)
Moderato, Tema con variazioni, Con brio: Allegro precipitato
Prokofiev studied in St Petersburg under Rimsky-Korsakov, but after the Russian revolution lived in the United States and then Paris, becoming reconciled with the new Russia only gradually and not returning to live there until the 1930s. Shortly before the end of the war Prokofiev was concussed in an accidental fall that drastically affected his health for the rest of his life. During 1946 his illness became increasingly severe and he made the decision to move out of Moscow to a large country house in a picturesque forest hamlet.
There in 1947 he composed the ‘Sonata for Unaccompanied Violin or Violins’, prompted by the practice of groups of Soviet violinists playing in unison the works of Bach, Handel and other composers. These groups of twenty or thirty young artists performed at special concerts on festive occasions at the Bolshoi Theatre, and from this Prokofiev derived the idea of writing an equivalent contemporary piece. The unaccompanied sonata displays the compositional traits that we now associate with his mature style, with concentration on melodic lines strong enough to stand without complex harmonic support. While many aspects of the work suggest the Viennese classical tradition, the novel tonal digressions and inventive use of dance themes are Prokofiev’s own. Particularly striking are the mischievous second theme of the first movement, with its accordion-like refrain; the bright, flowing Russian theme of the variations in the second movement; and the bravura main theme of the finale, in mazurka rhythm, with sharp accents and brilliant leaps in double stops. Although the sonata is now a successful solo item for certain violinists, Prokofiev had envisaged it mainly as a group piece, thinking that few artists would have the breadth of tone to carry it off alone.
FRANCISCO TÁRREGA (1852-1909) Recuerdos de la Alhambra arr. Ruggiero Ricci
Francisco Tárrega-Eixea was born in Vila-real, in a house beside the Saint Paschal Bay Ion sanctuary, where his parents worked as housekeepers for the nuns living there. His guitar playing attracted much attention, and he was sent first to Barcelona then eventually to Madrid to further his studies. He was widely regarded as the greatest guitarist of his time.
Tárrega augmented the guitar repertoire by making transcriptions of many classical works and adding his own original compositions. ‘Alhambra’s Memories’ was written in Malaga in 1899, dedicated to Alfred Cottin but in reality a homage to Doña Concepción Jacoby. The Recuerdos is a typical expression of the Spanish-French romantic movement that, in the second half of the 19th century, cultivated the myth of a southern exotic land which writers, poets, composers and painters dreamed of as a colourful and adventurous paradise. A study in tremolo, a technique that Tárrega helped champion, the piece is a lyrical tale of fond memories, with a melody of sensual longing that was used by Mike Oldfield in the soundtrack of The Killing Fields. In Ruggiero Ricci’s arrangement for unaccompanied violin, the violin imitates the tremolo effect of the guitar by use of continuous ricochet bowing.
Min Kym – Violin
“Min Lym has exceptional natural talent, mature musicality of the violin”.
Sir Georg Solti
‘After a lifetime of performing and teaching I believe young Min Kym to be the most talented violinist both instrumentally and musically, I have ever worked with. She is not just another fiddle player; she has amazing facility for the instrument and an individual stamp given to very few. She seems to play with her whole being. She is that rare talent – a born violinist’.
Ruggiero Ricci – Min Kym’s mentor Bom in South Korea, Min Kym became the youngest scholar ever to be accepted at the Purcell School of Music in London at the age of seven. Her prodigious talents on the violin were quickly displayed when she won the prestigious Premier Mozart International competition in Italy at the age of eleven and the following year made her debut as soloist in Lalo’s Symphonie Espagnole with the Berlin Symphony Orchestra. Performances at major concert halls in Italy, Switzerland, France, Spain, Korea and London followed. At fifteen she was the youngest student to be awarded a Foundation Scholarship at the Royal College of Music.
Working with such distinguished conductors as Vladimir Ashkenazy, Giuseppe Sinopoli, Alun Francis and Carl Davis, MinJin has appeared as soloist with leading orchestras including the Philharmonia Orchestra, the Dresden Staatskapelle Orchestra, the Seville Symphony Orchestra, the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, the English Symphony Orchestra, the Berlin Symphony Orchestra and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. She has performed at major Festivals and given many recitals, including at Wigmore Hall, London.
London Symphony Orchestra
Resident at the Barbican and founded in 1904, the LSO performs 85 concerts annually in London, in addition to national and international touring commitments and recordings. The LSO runs its own record label, LSO Live, has an acclaimed website and produces its own magazine, Living Music. Principal conductor Sir Colin Davis was recently awarded a Légion d’Honneur in recognition of his work with French music.
Barry Wordsworth – Conductor
Barry Wordsworth is the Principal Conductor of the BBC Concert Orchestra and the Brighton Philharmonic Orchestra as well as a frequent guest conductor with many of the major British Orchestras including the London Symphony Orchestra, the Philharmonia, the London Philharmonic Orchestra, the Halle Orchestra and the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra. He appears frequently with European orchestras and further afield, including the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra and Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra and the Sydney Symphony Orchestra as part of the Sydney Festival.
In addition to his symphonic career, Mr Wordsworth has conducted opera at Covent Garden. He was Music Director of the Royal Ballet until 1995 and regularly conducts key productions with them and the Birmingham Royal Ballet, where he continues as Music Director. He has also entered into a new relationship with the Tokyo Ballet where he has now conducted two productions.
Barry Wordsworth has a large catalogue of recordings and has made commercial releases for all the UK based companies including a long association with Argo/Decca International.
In 2002 Mr Wordsworth completed the 75th Anniversary Tour of the BBC Concert Orchestra in the USA.
Min Kym started playing the violin at the age of six and the following year became the youngest ever scholar at the Purcell School of Music in London studying with Felix Andrievsky. After winning the prestigious Premier Mozart International competition in Italy, Min Kym made her international debut at the age of thirteen with the Berlin Symphony Orchestra playing the Lalo Symphonie Espagnole which was so successful that she was engaged to play in major concert halls in Italy, Switzerland, France, Spain and London. At fifteen she was the youngest performer ever to be awarded a foundation scholarship at the Royal College of Music and took further lessons with Ruggiero Ricci, the internationally renowned violin virtuoso. He declared her ‘a rare talent and a born violinist’.
Working with such distinguished conductors as Vladimir Ashkenazy, Giuseppe Sinopoli, Martin Brabbyns and Carl Davis, Min Kym has appeared as soloist with leading orchestras including the Dresden Staatskapelle, the Philharmonia, the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, the London Philharmonic, the Zurich, the Seville Symphony and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. She has performed at major festivals including the Bath International Music Festival, the Henley Festival and abroad in Madrid, Oviedo, and at the Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival (Germany). Min Kym has given recitals throughout the UK including, most notably, at Wigmore Hall. She is regularly heard on the radio and has also appeared on David Attenborough’s BBC programme ‘Song of the Earth’.
Min-Jin has given a recital for the Heifetz Music Society in the USA where subsequently she was invited to feature in their inaugural international magazine. Future plans include a concert tour of Europe, the Far East and USA. She has an astounding repertoire of some ninety works including 36 concertos.
Min Kym’s critically acclaimed CD release of Lalo Symphonie Espagnole and Sarasate Carmen Fantasie is recorded with Barry Wordsworth and the London Symphony Orchestra on the Claudio label.
Born in South Korea, Min Kym became the youngest scholar ever to be accepted at the Purcell School of Music in London at the age of seven. Her prodigious talents on the violin were quickly displayed when she won the prestigious Premier Mozart International competition in Italy at the age of eleven and the following year made her debut as soloist in Lalo’s Symphonie Espagnole with the Berlin Symphony Orchestra.
Performances at major concert halls in Italy, Switzerland, France, Spain, Korea and London followed. At fifteen she was the youngest student to be awarded a Foundation Scholarship at the Royal College of Music.