Author Topic: Unsuk Chin  (Read 5647 times)

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Offline CRCulver

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Unsuk Chin
« on: April 26, 2010, 03:55:12 PM »
It's remarkable that, as I write this, a search on the forum for Unsuk Chin yields only one result. Surely there are many fans here of this post-spectralist composer who carries on Ligeti's tradition of whimsy.

For someone whose concerts always end up being successful and drawing media attention, there's remarkably few recordings. I was excited to see on Kairos' upcoming releases page that a Chin disc was on the way, but it turns out to just be a reissue of the old 20/21 disc that Deutsche Grammophon has allowed to fall out of print.

Offline lescamil

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Re: Unsuk Chin
« Reply #1 on: April 27, 2010, 06:42:45 PM »
Did anyone manage to see/hear the performance of her Cello Concerto in the 2009 BBC Proms? It was quite a work that showed a bit more of a sentimental side in Chin's catalogue, at least compared to many of her other works. It showed some extremely virtuosic writing in both the cello solo and the orchestra and a lot of splashes of orchestral color. That premiere was just the icing on the cake for the statement that she is one of the best post-spectral composers working today.

I also managed to hear her piano concerto in another BBC concert that took place earlier this year, and that was also quite an experience. It really brought to mind Ligeti and the "whimsy" that the original poster mentioned. The piano writing resembled the writing in Ligeti's Piano Concerto, but in much more colorful fashion. It moved very quickly compared to the rather sentimental Cello Concerto, also.
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Offline Guido

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Re: Unsuk Chin
« Reply #2 on: April 29, 2010, 04:32:07 AM »
Only the hardest of the hard avant guardist would call the cello concerto sentimental! True it is remarkably beautiful in sections for an atonal work, but I wouldn't put it in the category of schmaltz! Really imaginative sonorities throughout (all those harmonics in the stratosphere of the C and G string for instance, accompanied by the lowest possible harmonics in the orchestra) and a very distinctive post Ligetian atmosphere that is quite unique. It's a wonderful piece and I hope it gets recorded. It will never enter the standard repertoire, of that I am certain, because its difficulties are absolutely monstrous - Alban Gerhardt said it was the hardest piece he has ever learned, and he has played all the "traditional" contenders in this category for cellists - Lutoslawski, Dutilleux, Barber, Prokofiev, Gruber, Schnittke 2nd and Penderecki 2nd.
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Offline lescamil

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Re: Unsuk Chin
« Reply #3 on: April 29, 2010, 05:38:33 AM »
Only the hardest of the hard avant guardist would call the cello concerto sentimental! True it is remarkably beautiful in sections for an atonal work, but I wouldn't put it in the category of schmaltz!

Haha, I was speaking in relative terms compared to much of her other music, which is just plain relentless sometimes. I think a better word would be introspective, for it does have many sections of repose in it. It certainly is not schmaltzy in any way. Come to think of it, another work with a great amount of introspection is the concerto for Chinese sheng and orchestra "Šu". It uses the gentle harmonica-like sound of the sheng to great effect. I think it is the only piece by Chin so far to use a non-Western instrument.

Also, I suppose in some ways you could say I am one of the hardest of hard avant guardists, haha.
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Offline Brewski

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Re: Unsuk Chin
« Reply #4 on: April 29, 2010, 11:14:03 AM »
I've heard these two CDs below, and like both of them a lot--just haven't had the time to really give them a good say, dozen spins or so, but I can well imagine doing so.  Fascinating music on both, and the performances are excellent. 

The playing of the Ensemble Intercontemporain is no surprise--they are at their usual high standard--but the Violin Concerto (with Hagner, Nagano and Montreal) may end up being my favorite of what I've heard. 

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Offline CRCulver

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Re: Unsuk Chin
« Reply #5 on: May 16, 2012, 08:52:37 AM »
Quietly released this month on Odradek Records is the world premiere recording of Unsuk Chin's Piano Etudes, performed by Mei Yi Foo, together with pieces by Ligeti and Gubaidulina.

I first heard the last etude, "Grains", years ago in Chicago and loved it. I eventually got a low-quality radio recording of the whole set from Chin's publisher, but it's nice to finally have a commercial recording. You can see videos on YouTube of Mei Yi Foo performing these works; she definitely has what it takes.

Offline Brewski

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Re: Unsuk Chin
« Reply #6 on: May 16, 2012, 09:09:48 AM »
Thanks so much--glad to know about this!

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Offline Superhorn

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Re: Unsuk Chin
« Reply #7 on: May 17, 2012, 06:39:15 AM »
   I had heard of this composer , but didn't get my first exposure to her music until  a couple of weeks ago, when I  got  the DVD of her
delightful comic opera Alice in Wonderland ,based on the famous Lewis Caroll book from my library on interloan .
   The opera is great fun , and the music is as scintillating and whimsical as Prokofiev's The Love For 3 Orabges . 
The libretto is by the composer and David Henry Hwang, authorof the play M Butterfly .  Here is an opera that should appeal to people
who don't thinlk  that contemporary opera cna be any fun !
    The DVD is of the world premiere at Munich's Bavarian State opera several years ago , conducted by Kent Nagano , and the performance
could hardly be bettered, and the sets,costumes and whole production is brilliant, with  projections, marionettes, etc.
The 70-year old veteran Dame Gwyneth Jones, in amazingly well-preserved voice, is the Queen of Hearts, and she shows real comic flair, as does the entire cast . 
   If you haven't seen this DVD, I recommend it highly, and I'd like to hear more of Chin's music .

Offline Pessoa

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Re: Unsuk Chin
« Reply #8 on: February 15, 2014, 04:44:11 AM »
   I had heard of this composer , but didn't get my first exposure to her music until  a couple of weeks ago, when I  got  the DVD of her
delightful comic opera Alice in Wonderland ,based on the famous Lewis Caroll book from my library on interloan .
   The opera is great fun , and the music is as scintillating and whimsical as Prokofiev's The Love For 3 Orabges . 
The libretto is by the composer and David Henry Hwang, authorof the play M Butterfly .  Here is an opera that should appeal to people
who don't thinlk  that contemporary opera cna be any fun !
    The DVD is of the world premiere at Munich's Bavarian State opera several years ago , conducted by Kent Nagano , and the performance
could hardly be bettered, and the sets,costumes and whole production is brilliant, with  projections, marionettes, etc.
The 70-year old veteran Dame Gwyneth Jones, in amazingly well-preserved voice, is the Queen of Hearts, and she shows real comic flair, as does the entire cast . 
   If you haven't seen this DVD, I recommend it highly, and I'd like to hear more of Chin's music .

Probably the staging is brilliant, but the film editing is so restrictive as to where your attention must focus that I could only appreciate pale glimpses of it. Terrible terrible editing.
« Last Edit: February 15, 2014, 08:30:32 AM by Pessoa »

Offline CRCulver

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Re: Unsuk Chin
« Reply #9 on: February 15, 2014, 10:09:41 AM »
Now you can watch the atrocious visuals of that Alice in Wonderland video recording on Blu-Ray::)

Offline San Antone

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Re: Unsuk Chin
« Reply #10 on: February 15, 2014, 04:44:54 PM »
I consider her a fist rate contemporary composer.

Violin Concerto, Mvt. 1

<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/lCXGRwtnDYM" target="_blank" class="new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/lCXGRwtnDYM</a>

I agree that this concerto is a great new work.

Thanks for starting the thread.


Offline San Antone

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Re: Unsuk Chin
« Reply #11 on: February 15, 2014, 04:52:42 PM »
A work of hers I like a lot, Rocaná written in 2008

<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/otDzSZ0VsEI" target="_blank" class="new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/otDzSZ0VsEI</a>

<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/Xptc1-tqhjY" target="_blank" class="new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/Xptc1-tqhjY</a>

Offline lescamil

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Re: Unsuk Chin
« Reply #12 on: February 15, 2014, 11:56:58 PM »
Here is a piece well worth your time - Šu for Sheng and Orchestra. This is one of Chin's most colorful and seductively-sounding works. I'll let the commentary and work do the talking.

The announcer does mispronounce the name of the work, though. It should be pronounced like the word "shoe".

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LL5piF2eQlw
« Last Edit: February 16, 2014, 12:00:45 AM by lescamil »
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Offline Pessoa

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Re: Unsuk Chin
« Reply #13 on: February 17, 2014, 05:40:16 AM »
What do you make of this commentator otavioandradas´s opinions  on this music?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NxEIunRqvK8

Offline CRCulver

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Re: Unsuk Chin
« Reply #14 on: March 13, 2014, 12:33:52 AM »
It’s nice to see that the Piano Études are getting more recordings. Besides the aforementioned Mei Yi Foo recording, Yejin Gil has recorded them for the Solstice label, and according to Clare Hammond’s website the pianist has already recorded them for BIS for a 2015 release.

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Re: Unsuk Chin
« Reply #15 on: September 03, 2014, 01:22:46 PM »
anything new here?

Offline lescamil

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Re: Unsuk Chin
« Reply #16 on: September 03, 2014, 10:17:53 PM »
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Offline Henk

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Re: Unsuk Chin
« Reply #17 on: September 04, 2014, 12:26:08 AM »
anything new here?

She has a new album out. Sounded neat. Enjoyable stuff I think. Maybe it can be labeled hot. Well I sure need to get that album now.  :laugh:   $:)
« Last Edit: September 04, 2014, 12:35:46 AM by Henk »
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Offline lescamil

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Re: Unsuk Chin
« Reply #18 on: September 04, 2014, 05:22:17 AM »
She has a new album out. Sounded neat. Enjoyable stuff I think. Maybe it can be labeled hot. Well I sure need to get that album now.  :laugh:   $:)

Yes, the album with the three concertos. It's all excellently played, well-written music. The cello concerto has apparently been revised since the 2009 premiere, but I don't hear any difference.
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Re: Unsuk Chin
« Reply #19 on: September 04, 2014, 11:14:35 AM »
that's hawt!