June 2, 2014
"It's not for pianists."
- Myung Whun Chung
His performances are cited most often with the title "conductor" preceding his name. Sometimes, it's "Music Director." Myung Whun Chung's recordings with the Vienna Philharmonic, the Bastille Opera Orchestra, and other great ensembles are examples of the highest standards of interpretation and performance.
He became the conductor of choice for the Twentieth Century composer Olivier Messiaen, who wrote some of the most exotic, complex, and demanding music of his generation.
Myung Whun Chung has been a conductor for so much of his career that his earlier achievements as a solo pianist (including a Second Prize at the 1974 Tchaikovsky Competition) have been only echoed in recent years by several recordings as a chamber musician. It's understandable enough. Chung made a decision many years ago to make conducting his focus, even while maintaining his love of the piano.
The results of that decision speak for themselves. In one of many examples, his recording of Messiaen's Turangalila Symphony with the Bastille Opera Orchestra still ranks among the very best of that work.
Now Chung has released a recording that he calls a gift for young people. Leaving behind the ferocious complexity of Messiaen, he's chosen to focus on works that speak simply and directly to the emotional core of what it means to be human, a realm understood intuitively by children, perhaps more easily than adults.
The selections include, among others
Debussy's Clair de Lune,
Beethoven's Für Elise,
Tchaikovsky's Autumn Song, and
It's a collection that, in the words of Michael Tumelty of the Herald of Scotland, "demonstrates a pristine, lucid and light keyboard lyricism."
Tune in to 99.5 WCRB all week to hear Myung Whun Chung's "Piano."
For more information about this recording, visit the ArkivMusic.
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