Now released on vinyl following its CD issue in 2014, the ECM New Series debut of Myung Whun Chung features the widely-celebrated conductor as pianist. Recorded at Venice's Teatro La Fenice in July 2013, the album marks the first occasion that Chung has recorded solo. In a performer's note, he describes the album as a gift for younger listeners, as well as a personal thanks to those who share his love of this music.
Chung's touch and sensitivity for dynamics cast a new light on familiar pieces - Debussy's Clair de lune, two Chopin Nocturnes and a pair of Schubert Impromptus, Beethoven's Für Elise, Schumann's Träumerei and Arabeske, Tchaikovsky, and Mozart - as they are experienced in a gently flowing sequence which also serves to highlight affinities between the compositions.
Although conducting now fully occupies his professional life, Chung (born 1953 in Seoul) made his debut as pianist with the Seoul Philharmonic at the age of seven. He later studied the piano with Maria Curcio, the last and favourite pupil of Artur Schnabel. In 1974 he was joint second prize-winner in the Tchaikovsky Competition (where he performed Tchaikovsky's Autumn Song, revisited on this recording). He then began his career playing piano trios with his sisters, violinist Kyung Wha Chung and cellist Myung Wha Chung.
Earlier recordings that feature Myung Whun Chung as pianist include albums of the Chung Trio playing Dvorak, Mendelssohn, Brahms, Beethoven and more, as well as Messiaen's Quartet for the End of Time with Paul Meyer, Gil Shaham, and Jian Wang. Myung Whun Chung also recorded with Cecilia Bartoli on the critically-lauded Chants d'Amour, Mélodies Françaises.
"Chung produces such a soothingly rich tone (beautifully recorded in La Fenice, Venice) and such long singing phrases that it is hard not to be entranced by the sincerity and tender introspection of this recital, a lullaby as much as a souvenir for his grandchildren." Gramophone
"In its unpretentious, often understated way, this disc is a real joy" - International Record Review
"Piano favourites from one of the world's great conductors all beautifully played and arranged in a gently flowing sequence" Classic FM
- Clair de Lune (Debussy)
- Nocturne in D flat major op. 27/2 (Chopin)
- Für Elise (Beethoven)
- Autumn Song (Tchaikovsky)
- Impromptu in E flat major D899/2 (Schubert)
- Träumerei (Schumann)
- Arabeske (Schumann)
- Impromptu in G flat major D899/3 (Schubert)
- Nocturne in C sharp minor op.posth (Chopin)
- 12 Variations On Ah! Vous Dirais-je, Maman K 265 (Mozart)
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