Kids may not make good air traffic controllers or be able to perform brain surgery, but it is clear that some kids have extraordinary musical abilities; no one has found the secret as to why, but it is there. Telarc's Introducing Shannon Lee is a case in point; Shannon Lee was all of 15 years of age at the time of release. Though Lee is technically still a student, she is well on her way to becoming a seasoned professional; Lee made her debut in Texas playing the murderously difficult Franz Waxman Carmen Fantasy at the tender age of 12.
Here Lee is presented in a mixture of recital encores and solo pieces, with piano provided by Pamela Mia Paul, mostly pretty sure-fire and familiar stuff, though with a couple of surprises, such as Heinrich Wilhelm Ernst's transcription of Schubert's song "Der Erlkönig." In slower pieces, such as Elgar's "Salut d'amour," Lee hits all the notes, and it sounds fine, but doesn't yet have great depth of expression. It is the years of experience that impart such facility; one suspects Lee is aware of that, and she doesn't seem impatient to try and cultivate it. However, when it comes to the hyper-fast, dizzying virtuoso pieces, Lee finds herself at home, and her abilities in that area are just simply jaw dropping. Moreover, these performances are informed by her youthful esprit and seemingly boundless energy; her Kreisler Tambourin Chinois is phenomenally exciting, as are several pieces on Introducing Shannon Lee. It's hard to imagine a violin fancier that wouldn't appreciate what Lee is able to do. This album might well serve as a tool to interest other kids in picking up the violin, as it is engaging, entertaining, and fun.