Bruch, Schumann, Chopin
8 pieces op.83 nos.2,4,5,and 7 (trio)
Fantasiestücke (clarinet, piano)
Kol Nidrei op.47 (clarinet, piano)
Ballade no.1 (piano)
Märchenerzählungen op.132 (trio)
Three formidably gifted musicians, Ursula John, viola, Joy Farrall,clarinet, and Min-Jung Kym piano gave a brilliant recital on Friday15 April.
Playing to a large audience who had braved the inclement weather, this unusual combination of instrumentalists played as a Trio and also as separate parts of the group.
Starting with Max Bruch`s "Eight Pieces" Op.53, these romantic offerings from a 70 year old composer proved to be a most attractive introduction, and the mellow blending of viola and clarinet with the pianist`s rippling background was a joy to hear.
Next, as a Duo, we heard the well known "Fantasiestucke" Op.73 by Robert Schumann, a work which apart from the piano, can be played with a variety of instruments, and in this case the clarinet proved to be a most effective partner. Written in three lively movements, this work fairly romps along especially in the second and third movement where it starts and ends with a flourish of an ascending arpeggio for both clarinet and piano -- most exhilarating !
More Bruch and another Duo, this time between viola and piano in a riveting performance of the famous "Kul Nidrei". Written in 1880 as an adagio and based on a Hebrew prayer where the viola imitates the Cantor, the effect was spellbinding with an appreciable length of silence before overwhelming applause -- always a sign of significant audience appreciation !
After the interval it was the turn of the pianist to play the Chopin G minor Ballade. This, the first of four Tone Poems stretches the artist`s abilities both musically and technically in that it contains highly romantic melodies, often tempting the talents of lesser pianists, but typical of the composer, these seductive tunes are separated by sections of great difficulty. However, under the hands of Min-Jung Kym these difficulties dissolved away and the music came alive and thrilled us with a storming performance.
Coming together once more, the trio played "Marchenerzahlungen" (Fairy Tales) Op.132 by Schumann. Written three years before his death, these four short pieces show many signs of the composer`s increasingly fragile imagination, and most tend to swing between lively march themes and dreamy repose. Always tenderly and expressively played this unusual romantic suite concluded another fine recital by these internationally acclaimed musicians whom we are proud to present to a Surrey audience.
Ursula John started playing music at the age of four at the Waddell School, Edinburgh. She made her solo debut aged six at the Usher Hall. She continued her studies with Simon Rowland-Jones at the RNCM, and then went on to win a Countess of Munster Musical Trust Scholarship for further coaching in Amsterdam with Prunella Pacey (Allegri Quartet), and Ulrich Koch in Freiburg.
Ursula has worked with many of London’s top orchestras, particularly the London Symphony Orchestra, London Sinfonietta and Britten Sinfonia. She has played at concert halls across Europe and in the USA, including Vienna’s Musikverein, Conservatorio di Milano, the Daytona International Festival in Florida, and has frequently performed at the Royal Albert Hall in the BBC Proms. Ursula has worked with artists including Seiji Ozawa, Claudio Abbado, Mstislav Rostropovich, Sir Colin Davis, Steven Isserlis, Oliver Knussen, Pekka Kuusisto and Thomas Ades.
Ursula’s diverse career has included playing on many film sessions, such as Independence Day and Little Women, CD recordings (including the original recordings of Gorecki’s Third Symphony, and of Tavener’s The Protecting Veil, and solo performances at Henley International Festival, Bloomsbury Festival and the John Cage 100th Anniversary Musicircus at English National Opera. She has also been guest principal for Brandenburg Sinfonia, London Musical Arts Orchestra and Welsh Chamber Orchestra.
Last year, Ursula performed in Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante for violin and viola with Suzie Meszaros, and with Britten Sinfonia in “See the Music, Hear the Dance”, the highly acclaimed Thomas Ades dance project at Sadler’s Wells, London.
Joy Farrall has a diverse and fascinatingly eclectic career currently holding the position of Principal Clarinet with the Britten Sinfonia. She has freelanced with most of the UKs major orchestras and chamber orchestras and as an enthusiastic chamber musician she has appeared at music societies and festivals all over Britain, Europe, America and Australia. Joy is a founder member of the Haffner Wind Ensemble with whom she has broadcast, recorded and toured widely.
Joy has great enthusiasm for new music and has had many new works written for and dedicated to her, most notably Simon Bainbridge’s Double concerto and Clarinet Quintet, works by Oliver Knussen and John McCabe.
Joy has had special success as a recording artist, particularly as a Mozartian, but also in a wider repertoire. This includes the complete Mozart Clarinet works on three discs for Meridian, the Strauss Duet Concertino for EMI, the Mozart Sinfonia Concertante and Concerto for the Classic FM label and various chamber music works for both Chandos and Hyperion. Her most recent CD release is a disc of Italian Bel Canto Clarinet Concertos with the Britten Sinfonia on ASV.
Joy is a dedicated and inspiring teacher who has done a great deal to influence the shape of British clarinet playing in the last 25 years through her work as a Professor at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama as well as in her frequent master classes both at home and abroad. Recently as part of the Britten Sinfonias Creative Learning programme Joy has taken a leading role in the inauguration of their Academy for young players. In addition to her Professorial duties at the Guildhall she is Senior Tutor of chamber music for the Wind Brass and Percussion department and also Head of Woodwind at the Purcell School. Joy became a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy in 2014.
Steinway Artist Min-Jung Kym has acquired an internationally recognised reputation performing with some of the leading orchestras and musicians throughout the UK and abroad.
A former Purcell School scholar, Min-Jung made her London solo concert debut at the age of twelve with the National Symphony Orchestra at the Royal Festival Hall. She went on to study as a scholar at the Royal Academy of Music, graduating with the Eric Brough and Elsie Horne prizes. In 2004 Min-Jung was honoured with the Freedom of the City of London and elected a Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Musicians. Further recognition was given in 2009 when Min-Jung was awarded the Associate of the Royal Academy of Music (ARAM), an honour bestowed to alumni of the Royal Academy of Music, who have distinguished themselves in the music profession and have made significant contribution to it in their particular field.
Min-Jung was the 'pianist' of choice for the masterclasses of the legendary violinist Ruggiero Ricci. She has also enjoyed collaborations with (amongst others) the Haffner Ensemble, Pierre Amoyal, Joy Farrall, Sergey Levitin and Adrian Brendel.
Min-Jung's performances have been enjoyed throughout the USA, Europe and the UK including the Wigmore Hall, Cadogan Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall, Purcell Room, St. John Smith's Square, De Montfort Hall, Brighton Dome and the Queen's Theatre. She has also appeared at the Schleswig Holstein Musik Festival (Germany), Heifetz Society in Los Angeles, Cheltenham Festival, Holders Festival in Barbados, Broadwood International Festival, as well as the Chichester Festivities.
In 2008, Min-Jung was invited to perform with the world renowned Philharmonia Orchestra, which was recieved such acclaim that she was invited immediately to perform with them again the following season.
Other engagements have included to perform at the Emilie Bustani Hall in Al Bustan, Lebanon, under the auspices of the British Embassy, a concert tour in Germany with the Concert Master of the Philharmonia Orchestra, Zsolt-Tihamer Visontay, and the world premiere performance of Stuart MacRae's Poems for Angus, with the principals of the Royal Opera House and soprano Susan Bickely, and invitation to perform at the Salerno Opera House (Italy), the Auditorio Alfredo Kraus in Gran Canaria. During the 2013/14, Min-Jung was invited to perform at the Residence of the Bristish Ambassador in Paris, the Palais de Chaillot (Paris), UNESCO, and the National Museum of Korea in Seoul, South Korea.
Plans for the 2015/16 season will include the release on the Meridian label of works by Cevera with the double bassist Leon Bosch, a return performance at the Residence of the British Ambassador in Paris as well a performance with the Toulouse l'Orchestre Mozart for the opening of the Festival des Abbayes at Frontfoide in France. Further collaboration with the Philharmonia Orchestra is also scheduled in the forthcoming seasons. During 2015, Min-Jung will also appear in the promotion video of Sir Norman Foster's latest building project, Principal Tower, in London.
Min-Jung's performances have led to symbiotic collaborations with internaional designers, notably Zuhair Murad, Lie Sang Bong and Gustavo Lins who have all sponsored dresses for her.