This is a most welcome reissue of violinist Kyung Wha Chung's 1987 'Con amore' recording. Put simply, this is the most satisfying collection of encores that I have had the pleasure of hearing since its inital release on LP nearly two decades ago.
The virtuosity is deceptively non-apparent in these performances due to the directness of communication from Chung and her most empathic collaborator, Phillip Moll. Chung's technical feats are completely at the service of musical expression with fire, passion, profundity, wit, charm, and scorching fervor which are manifest in her fearless attack and singing statements that soar. There is only musical honesty and a directness that reveal no hesitation or constructed affectism.
The opening Kreisler La Gitana offers such zest and flair as does the Preludium and Allegro. There is such presence yet subtlety to the wide range of emotions and sound textures that Chung and Moll create. And they move amazingly together in their rubato and dialogue with spontaneity for wonderful measure. Raging passion with Brahms and Saint Saens and hushed intimacy in Debussy's Beau soir are irresistably rewarding on listening to this collection. Perhaps the Elgar Salut d'amor is most representative of the powerfully communicative nature of this recording. Chung admits to having to "grow" with the piece for ten years before being able to play it in public. And this is most apparent in the completely personal reading she provides with such inflections and subtleties that can simply have NOT been planned, practiced, nor drilled in advance for the recording microphone.
In the late nineties, Chung recorded a second disc of violin encores for EMI entitled "Souvenirs". This album also collectively offered Chung's characteristic fire and lyricism and musical intelligence. Yet in comparison, this 'Con amore' album possesses an intensity of communication and that rare marriage of virtuosity and musical honesty at a greater and often unachievable stratosphere. An exciting and rewarding accomplishment in Kyung Wha Chung's selective discography!!!