Sonata in G minor for Violin and Piano
Sonata No.2 in D for Violin and Piano, Op.94b
Sonata in A for Violin and Piano
Min-Jin Kym (violin) & Ian Brown (piano)
Reviewed by: Peter Reed
Reviewed: 10 April, 2010
Venue: Wigmore Hall, London
Of the three sonatas in her programme, the Debussy suited her best, and she sounded completely in sympathy with the music’s reflective, almost distracted fantasy, and she produced a miraculously veiled, distant sound for the mysterious Intermezzo. The Prokofiev requires a more robustly extrovert approach, and she dug deep into the first movement’s military-style fanfares and lingered lyrically over the charms of the Andante. The humorous and fearsomely difficult finale showed off her formidably secure and dazzling virtuosity. It was stylish and very impressive, and I appreciated her ever-so-slightly cool appraisal of the music’s more raucous passages.
There are many performances of César Franck’s Violin Sonata that make you go down on your knees and give thanks for Brahms. In all his big works, with the exception of the three organ Chorales, Franck never quite cracked the art of spontaneity at the expense of form, which Brahms did, transcendentally. The Franck could not have had a more persuasive performance from Kym; she played down the music’s rather overwrought turbulence while emphasising its rhapsody with a huge range of tone, and the introduction of the big tune was a little masterpiece of control and subtlety.
Ian Brown, the Nash Ensemble’s indomitable pianist, has been Min-Jin Kym’s performance partner for a number of years. His command of the variety of styles was masterly, and his discreet, unfussy playing complemented Kym’s approach perfectly.