Janet Sung

Sung Sessions: Edge of Youth

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The violinist Janet Sung is not quite on the "edge of youth" herself. After completing a double major in music and anthropology at Harvard, she studied at the Juilliard School with Dorothy DeLay, who died in 2002. This is, however, her debut album, and the concept is a fresh one. Moreover, Sung puts it together from largely unfamiliar works, all of them pretty contemporary. The earliest one is Benjamin Britten's early Suite for violin and piano, Op. 6, and you can sample its lovely Lullaby slow movement for a demonstration of Sung's cantabile. But perhaps the real find is George Enescu's Impressions d'enfance, Op. 28, of 1940. On the venerable theme of recollections of childhood, this work in ten short movements has an extended Impressionist style that includes Romanian elements, and it's an exceptionally attractive work. Here and elsewhere, Sung gets excellent support from pianist William Wolfram. The three contemporary works all relate to Sung's theme in various ways, and the Rave-Up of Dan Visconti (2012) is a work of considerable difficulty, updating the Paganini idiom for the rock era. Also difficult is the Sleeveless Scherzo (2007) of Gabriel Prokofiev, Sergey's grandson, which manages to sound like electronic music even though it contains no such element. An engaging program and technically unimpeachable playing promise great things from this new addition to the roster of the American label Sono Luminus.

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