Sueye Park: Salut d’amour
It’s interesting quite how many recording tributes to the late 19th and early 20th century’s great violinists have been appearing of late from today’s younger generation. In the space of six months we’ve had Ray Chen’s ‘The Golden Age’ (Decca, 9/18), Elena Urioste’s ‘Estrellita’ (BIS), Vilde Frang’s Enescu Octet (Warner Classics, 10/18) and Emmanuel Bach’s ‘Musical Mosaics’ (Willowhayne). In addition, despite the oft-heard lament that the string players of recent decades create a less immediately recognisable sound than the likes of Heifetz and Milstein, the offerings from Chen, Urioste and Frang display lashings of individual character.
Sueye Park’s recital of vignettes thoroughly fits this mould of individuality, too, and if I were to sum up the special quality she brings then it would be her purity and directness. Take the Elgar title-piece, which comes without a hint of whimsy, coquettishness or vulnerability but is instead unfussily cloudless, singing and rubato-light. Or the pure, sure tone with which she sails into her programme opener of Sarasate’s Introduction et Tarantelle, before moving into a Tarantella whose consecutive double-stops are weighted to perfection between strings as well as against each other, and where beauty of tone holds true even through its highest-register fast passagework.
In fact, sticking with what Park delivers way up the leger-line ladder, zip to the recital’s penultimate Die letze Rose from Paganini’s contemporary fan and rival, the violinist-composer Heinrich Wilhelm Ernst. First, because the rounded, ringing sweetness she brings to Variation 2’s sky-high melodic line is stunning; and also because of the dynamic distinction she gets between Var 4’s left-hand pizzicato melody and its bowed broken-chordal accompaniment. Most of all, though, listen to the coda: double-stopped harmonics delivered with a tonal quality that’s almost more akin to the notes produced by running a wet finger over a crystal glass than to horsehair meeting wound metal, contrasted by the intervening down-bows and runs. It’s strikingly fine. As indeed is Love Derwinger’s fused partnering throughout. In short, I’m properly taken with this one.