This Sarah Chang compilation (could surely have
had a longer playing time?) is the sort of mood music the title
suggests. The album draws on Ms Chang's recordings for EMI. Her
artistry is beyond doubt but it is unfair to put together so much
andante in a single album. As an attentive listening experience
this is too much of a good thing. This concept album holds a mood
and will no doubt work well as background to a meal or even as aural
'paint' in an arts and crafts shop.
There are thirteen tracks of which six are with
orchestra; the remainder with piano. The only complete orchestral
work is the Saint-Saens Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso the
hushed mystery of which flows with ardent life. I would love to
hear Chang in Havanaise or Schmitt's Habeyssé.
Otherwise we have mood-consistent cullings from other works: Tchaik
Violin Concerto (andante) and two movements from the Lalo
and Vieuxtemps warhorses (Espagnole and No. 5). The Vitali
Chaconne (with orchestra) establishes the heart-slowing mood
quickly. Other tracks by Paganini (not the fireworks but the serenades!),
Chopin, Liszt, Sibelius and Brahms are all on message. Some
variety is briefly offered in the flashy con fuoco from the
Vieuxtemps and Brahms' Hungarian Dance No. 1. The liner notes
are what you would expect. Devastatingly successful as mood music.
Just too much for general listening. Ultimately a credit to only
one aspect of Chang's undoubted artistry.