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MIN JIN violin
Edouard LALO (1823-1892)
Symphonie Espagnole
Pablo SARASATE (1844-1908)

Concert Fantasie on Carmen
William KROLL (1901-1980)

Banjo and Fiddle arranged John Bradbury
Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953)

Sonata for Solo Violin
Francisco TÁRREGA (1852-1909)

Recuerdos de la Alhambra arranged Ruggiero Ricci
Min Jin, violin
London Symphony Orchestra/Barry Wordsworth
Recorded June and July 2001
CLAUDIO CB5256-2 [65í19]


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Choosing the programme for a debut CD is not an easy matter for a violinist. The young musician could choose a tried and tested warhorse, the Bruch G Minor or Saint-Saens 3, coupled with a suitable discmate. If the disc is of sonatas, maybe the Brahms Op 78 is a good test of oneís structural cohesion, romantic sensibility, qualities of tonal projection and characterisation. A contemporary work is always an arresting beginning or maybe affinities with the Franco-Belgian or German schools could be demonstrated with the solo sonatas of Ysaye or Reger or maybe even Zimmermann. The young South Korean violinist Min Jin studied successively at the Purcell School and the Royal College of Music and has given a debut disc that combines some of these components. Thereís a staple in the Lalo, a virtuoso powerhouse Sarasate and also the solo sonata of Prokofiev. In addition she plays the Tárrega in its arrangement by Min Jinís mentor, Ruggiero Ricci, whose blazing encomium to her is reproduced in the booklet notes. For added measure thereís Krollís Banjo and Fiddle in an arrangement for Violin and orchestra. Essentially therefore we have an astutely Spanish oriented recital with a taste of her twentieth century interests in the Prokofiev and a folksy Heifetzian excursion in the Kroll.

She made her debut at the age of twelve in the Lalo with the Berlin Symphony Orchestra and is confident enough to reprise it for this recording. She can indulge some spicy lyric phrasing in the first movement and shapes musical paragraphs with real understanding, some minor bowing problems aside. She isnít afraid to withdraw tone when appropriate. Some diminuendo-crescendo playing runs throughout the movement and the accompaniment can sometimes veer toward the foursquare. In the once derided Intermezzo Ė once routinely detached for recording purposes Ė she summons up a pleasurable range of colours and shadings, has a bright, tight trill, even and fast, and is occasionally metrically daring. Sensitivity marks out her performance of the Andante and a strong conquering of those fearsome left hand pizzicatos and glissandos in the finale.

The Lalo was written for Sarasate whose Carmen fantasie Min Jin plays with rather less authority than she did the Symphonie espagnole. Her tone tends to coarsen in grittier passages. The Kroll appears in an orchestral string guise courtesy of John Bradbury and this rather takes the tang from Krollís eyebrow-cocking cheek and indulges some swooning fiddles to rather unpleasant effect. In addition, in the central interlude Min Jinís extravagant lyricism is rather overdone. The Prokofiev is good Ė the technical and expressive demands are adeptly dealt with and the dance themes coursing throughout the work are properly acknowledged. Recuerdos de la Alhambra, in Ricciís arrangement, is reasonably done but ultimately lacks tone and charisma. Iím sure they will come in time. I hope Min Jin will continue to explore the Romantic repertoire and the many twentieth century solo sonatas to advantage.

Jonathan Woolf

 


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