Lalo Symphonie Espagnole; Sarasate Carmen Fantasie
A new recording of the Lalo Symphonie espagnole needs to be special if it is to find a place in a crowded market. Barry Wordswotth opens spaciously‚ not as sharply rhythmic as Barenboim for Perlman on the classic DG version‚ but it sets the mood for Min Jin’s warmly lyrical approach.
How deliciously and seductively she introduces the secondary theme (3'11")‚ while her bravura passagework never sounds like notespinning. The Scherzo is winningly lightly bowed‚ and Wordsworth is very positive in introducing the Intermezzo‚ where she again responds rhythmically‚ but with soft lyrical feeling. The Andante then becomes the heart of the performance‚ with a noble breadth in the introduction and Min Jin entering on an exquisite halftone‚ managing the rhythmic snaps very delicately.
Her playing is deeply felt‚ and the orchestra follows her with real intensity. The chirping woodwind open the finale most invitingly (the crescendo and diminuendo very nicely handled). Again the soloist displays the lightest touch in her elegant bowing‚ and if overall the Spanish character of the music is not underlined‚ its charm continually captivates the ear.
In Sarasate’s brilliant arrangement of Bizet‚ there is similar subtlety of approach. The solo playing is dazzling‚ but never using effect for its own sake – just sample her delicate harmonic slides (1'06" and 2'12") – while throughout she clearly relishes Bizet’s wonderful tunes. Strikingly involved playing in the opening movement of the Prokofiev Solo Sonata‚ and plenty of dash too‚ in the final Allegro precipitato. The Recuerdos of Tárrega is a real novelty‚ again bowed with exquisite fragility‚ but Kroll’s Banjo and Fiddle (with orchestra) is treated as a goodhumoured encore‚ and played with warmth as well as virtuosity. A fine début and a most enjoyable collection.