The Swan, featuring ever more popular and persuasive young cellist Han-Na Chang, is a work of beauty. Miss Chang has shown in her previous cd's that she is just as capable as any virtuoso cellist when it comes to technical prowess, but that is not the focus of this cd. Here, all is peace and light, and true musicality.
About half of the works on the cd are old war horses, and have been recorded many times: Faure's Apres un reve and Sicilenne; Rachmaninov's Vocalise, Saint-Saen's Swan, Tchaikovsky's Nocturne and Dvorak's Silent Woods. But the cd also includes pieces rarely recorded: The Chant du menestrel of Glazunov; Respigi's Adagio with Variations, Bruch's Ave Maria, and the only recording to my knowledge of the Korean Elegy, by Yun Joon Kim and Roxanna Panufnik. To all these works Chang brings sensitivity of phrasing, depth of feeling, perfect intonation and a superb rich tone.
Born in Korea in 1982, Chang began studying the cello at the age of six. When only eleven years old, she won First Prize and the Contemporary Music Prize at the Fifth Rostropovich International Cello Competition in Paris (October, 1994). She began recording with EMI Classics a year after that, with Mstislav Rostropovich conducting the London Symphony Orchestra. Her formal debut was in Korea in 1995, where she performed with Giuseppe Sinopoli conducting the Dresden Staatskapelle. In 1996 she debuted with Charles Dutoit and the Orchestre Symphonique de Montreal at Carnegie Hall; and she now performs with leading conductors and orchestras around the globe. This recording, The Swan, was done with Leonard Slatkin and the Philharmonia Orchestra, and was released on January 9, 2001. The audio quality of the cd is excellent: both the cellist and orchestra come through clearly and with good presence.
For audio and video excerpts, CLICK HERE.
The Swan may be purchased at Amazon.Com. or your local music store.
Han-Na Chang's EMI Web Page
Reviewed by "drcello," March 3, 2001.