Navona Records (NV 6079). Recorded June 20 and 21, 1969 at the Angel Studios in London, UK.
Producer: Kresimir Seletkovic; Engineer: Steve Price
Here’s Moonkyung Lee playing the third movement of the Violin Concerto in D rhttps://youtu.be/diFkV1eK_Lg
Navona Records either surprises the listener by bringing out unusual repertoire – a CD of works for piccolo, for example – or by highlighting young performers on the rise, as is the case with their all-Tchaikovsky CD featuring the enormously talented Korean violinist Moonkyung Lee.
The first track of the album is given to the D Major Violin Concerto – a daunting challenge for any but the most valiant of violinists. I confess not to know whether or not Tchaikovsky indicated any metronome markings on this or any other of his scores, but rather doubt it. One is used to most violinists taking the first and third movements of this concerto at warp speed, even at the risk of loss of clarity and cleanliness of articulation.
Ms. Moonkyung does not fall into any tempo traps, opting instead for a measured approach to the Allegro Moderato of the first movement and the Vivacissimo marking of the third, which allows for graceful transitions in and out of the slower sections that Tchaikovsky positions within each of them. The middle Canzonetta: Andante is taken at a leisurely pace though never a lax one, and the results are satisfying. Ms. Moonkyung is a sensitive and sensible player that regales the listener with lyrical playing that spares any grandstanding. Yet, when the Big Moments come around, the Korean violinist is ready to deliver the needed fireworks.
The Meditation in D Minor is a midcareer work filled with heartfelt melody and sentiment. It comes from opus 42, titled “Remembrances of a beloved place” Moonkyung Lee gives it an impassioned and delicate rendition. The Bb Melancholy Serenade is perhaps more familiar to more concertgoers. It is, much like the Meditation a one-movement piece with the musculature of a concerto, and in it the Korean violinist excels, giving the CD a lovely closing.
The London Symphony Orchestra, led by Miran Vaupotić provides solid support to Ms. Moonkyung’s world class playing.
May we hope for more from this wonderful artist?
Rafael de Acha