COMPOSERS: Dvorak; Faure; Glazunov; Kim & Bruch; Rachmaninoff; Respighi; Saint-Saens; Tchaikovsky
ALBUM TITLE: Collection: The Swan
WORKS: Works for cello and orchestra
PERFORMER: Han-Na Chang (cello); Philharmonia Orchestra/Leonard Slatkin
CATALOGUE NO: CDC 5 57052 2
From its title, you might misjudge this to be yet another pot-pourri of cello favourites and, at that, a strange choice with which to hail 18-year-old Korean cellist Han-Na Chang’s graduation from ‘child prodigy to young adult virtuoso’. But it’s not your typical ‘young artist showcase’ disc: the cello is not miked as far forward as you’d expect, and although there are some ubiquitous tracks like Fauré’s Sicilienne and Rachmaninoff’s Vocalise, Chang’s personal choice (for this is how the disc is presented) also includes less obvious works like Bruch’s Ave Maria and Respighi’s Adagio con variazione. If the word ‘mature’ is often used in connection with Chang’s interpretations, it must be because that quality is so immediately striking. Her playing is extremely lyrical and naturally phrased, and she appears to engage totally with the music. Hers is a wonderfully stylish, languid Dvorák Waldesruhe and the delicacy of the final rendition of the theme in the Respighi in the highest possible reaches of the cello takes the breath away. Of course, Chang has the advantage of a top-class orchestra and conductor, adding depth and richness to each track. The booklet lends even more credibility to the disc by actually telling us which tracks were orchestrated by the composers and which by someone else – a rare treat.