Wednesday, 19 April 2017

CD Review (The Straits Times, April 2017)

with Rohan de Silva, Piano
Deutsche Grammophon 886 046-9 / *****

In 2015, Taiwanese violinist Tseng Yu-Chien was awarded the 1st prize at the inaugural Singapore International Violin Competition. Within the same year, he won 2nd prize at the International Tchaikovsky Violin Competition in Moscow, undoubtedly an even more coveted accolade. 

This debut recital disc issued by Universal Music Taiwan shows the confidence of youth in abundance. Not all of the programme is virtuoso fodder, as he displays a totally musical and more lyrical side in Mozart's Violin Sonata in B flat major (K.454), Chopin's Nocturne (Op.27 No.2) in August Wilhelm's arrangement and Tchaikovsky's Melodie from Souvenir d'un lieu cher.

Even in flexing his Paganinian prowess, there is much nuance in Tartini's Devil's Trill Sonata, working from its calm and sanguine opening to an increasingly frenzied conclusion. In the unaccompanied Last Rose Of Summer Variations by Heinrich Ernst, the intricacy, detail and perfect intonation of his playing becomes more apparent, reaching full fruition in Wieniawski's fearsome Variations On An Original Theme

The 1732 Guarneri del Gesu violin he plays on, on loan by a Taiwanese foundation, and veteran piano accompanist Rohan de Silva prove worthy partners. Heartily recommended. 

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