Chee-Yun gives white-hot recital at Goucher


April 08, 1993|By Stephen Wigler | Stephen Wigler,Music Critic

Sizzling is the word that best describes violinist Chee-Yun.

The 22-year-old musician, who gave a recital last night at Goucher College with pianist Akira Eguchi, has an emotional range that goes from hot to hotter to hotter still, and that can threaten to reach the temperatures generated during a nuclear meltdown. She's also got all of the violin equipment in the world -- she's superior to Nadia Salerno-Sonnenberg and a match for Midori.

I have never heard any fiddler dispatch Sarasate's "Introduction and Tarantella" with as much bravura. And if she wears her prowess on her sleeveless arms, why not? If you've got it, you might as well flaunt it.

Along with the Sarasate, the most impressive performance on the program was of Saint-Saens' "Sonata in D Minor." This is a notoriously difficult piece to bring off (for the pianist and the violinist).

Chee-Yun played it with blazing temperament, attacking her instrument fearlessly and with a big, varied tone. She was partnered wonderfully by Eguchi, whose dexterity and light touch made it possible for him to follow Chee-Yun through the music's hairpin turns. If the violinist seemed to say, "Catch me if ,, you can," the pianist responded, "Lose me if you can."

There was similar passion in performances of Vitali's "Chaconne in G Minor" and of a suite of three pieces (arranged by Raimundo Penaforte) from Leonard Bernstein's "West Side Story." The Bernstein transcriptions brought to mind some of the performances of transcriptions from Gershwin's "Porgy and Bess" that Jascha Heifetz used to give. The young Korean showed some of the same insouciant verve and, better still, some of the same vocal qualities in her playing.

The only problem was that such an unremitting exhibition of violin legerdemain and display of musical heat could leave one a little exhausted as well as exhilarated.

A performance of "Mozart's Sonata in C" (K. 296), which opened the recital, showed genuine control -- the playing had tensile note-to-note strength -- and intelligence. But while the young violinist's energy never violated the music's scale, it sometimes threatened to do so.

Chee-Yun should have an enormous career, but she will have to learn to bank her fires.

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