Fri, Jul 16, 2010 - Page 14 News List

MUSIC : Faith and a fiddle move mountains

By Bradley Winterton  /  CONTRIBUTING REPORTER


Thursday sees a solo recital by the young South Korean violinist Shin Hyun-Su in the National Concert

Hall, Taipei.

To begin such an event with Bach’s Ciaconne is already making a bold

and confident statement. Bach wrote three sonatas and three partitas for

solo violin (the two forms seem indistinguishable to modern ears), and the Ciaconne forms the final movement of the second partita. It has long been viewed as the Everest of all Bach’s violin compositions.

Of the 31 movements of the combined sonatas and partitas it is, at some 15 minutes, far and away the longest. It combines difficulty with exceptional brilliance. Beginning with a theme that is then given 14 variations, a second theme follows, which is subjected to a huge variety of treatments. There can be no doubt that Bach knew he was setting down something exceptional, even for him, when he penned it.

But then Shin Hyun-Su is no ordinary talent. Just 23 years of age (today is her birthday), she’s already a force to be reckoned with in the fiercely competitive world of classical violin playing. She made her debut at the age of 10, and in 2008 won first prize in the Long-Thibaud International Violin Competition in Paris. She was named “New Artist of the Year” by the Music Association of her native South Korea in 2007.

After her giant-killing opening number, Shin will play Beethoven’s Violin Sonata No. 3, and then end the first half of the evening with the Polonaise Brillante No. 1 by 19th-century Polish virtuoso Henryk Wieniawski. After the interval there will be a Mozart sonata (K.301), and then Cesar Franck’s Violin Sonata. Neither the Mozart nor the Beethoven sonatas are widely known, but the Franck is a major item in the composer’s output, and a fit piece to close with. The Beethoven, Mozart and Franck numbers will all require an accompanying pianist.

Shin Hyun-su is appearing as part of New Aspect’s Rising Stars concert series. She has a page on Facebook under the name “Hyun-su Shin, violinist” where many performance clips, often complete concerto movements, can

be accessed.

Shin Hyun-Su performs at the National Concert Hall, Taipei, on Thursday at 7:30pm. Tickets are from NT$400 to NT$1,500, available from NTCH ticketing or online at


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