Gil Shaham

Gil Shaham
Gil Shaham, violinist

Wednesday, February 01, 2017

Yu-Chien Tseng: Reverie – Giuseppe Tartini, Frédéric Chopin, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Heinrich Wilhelm Ernst, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, Henryk Wieniawski – Rohan De Silva (Download 44.1kHz/16bit)

Taiwanese violinist Yu-Chien (Benny) Tseng is rapidly building an international reputation as an emerging young soloist of enormous promise praised for his "grace, poise, and blistering virtuosity".

A student of Aaron Rosand and Ida Kavafian at the Curtis Institute of Music, Tseng is the 1st prizewinner at the Singapore International Violin Competitions and the Sarasate Violin Competition in Pamplona, Spain. In July 2015, he was awarded the 2nd prize at the XV International Tchaikovsky Competition.

Yu-Chien Tseng is already developing a promising career as a soloist, having played with such orchestras as the Philadelphia Orchestra, National Symphony Orchestra of Belgium, Taipei Symphony Orchestra, National Symphony Orchestra of Taiwan, Orquesta Sinfónica de Navarra and the Orchestre Royal de Chambre de Wallonie.

In 2015 Tseng performed Mozart's Violin Concerto No.5 at the XV International Tchaikovsky Competition's gala concert in Moscow with the Mariinsky Orchestra under Valery Gergiev. At the gala concert in St Petersburg he performed the Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto. He also performed under Gergiev at the Gergiev's festival in Mikkeli, Finland and performed both the Tchaikovsky and Brahms Concertos with Valery Gergiev and the Munich Philharmonic on their tour of Taiwan in November 2015.

Yu-Chien Tseng has given recitals in Taiwan, Spain, Belgium, China and the United States. His debut recording (2012) is an album of French violin sonatas (Franck, Ravel and Debussy) on the Fuga Libera Label.

He plays the Giuseppe Guarneri del Gesu 1732 Ex "Castelbarco-Tarisio", on loan from the Chi-Mei Culture Foundation, Taiwan.

On his new album, Reverie, Yu-Chien Tseng plays Giuseppe Tartini (Sonata for violin & continuo in G minor, B.g5 "The Devil's Trill"), Frédéric Chopin (Nocturne, Op.27 No.2), Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (Sonata for violin & piano No.32 in B flat major, K.454), Heinrich Wilhelm Ernst (Étude No.6, Variations on "The Last Rose of Summer"), Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (Mélodie in E flat major from Souvenir d'un lieu cher, for violin & piano, Op.42), and Henryk Wieniawski (Variations on an Original Theme in A major, for violin & piano, Op.15).

The man behind Tseng's album is Grammy-award winning producer Rainer Maillard.

Sri Lankan pianist Rohan de Silva accompanies Tseng on the album and contributes to five melodies on the record.

Στο νέο του άλμπουμ με τίτλο "Reverie" (Ονειροπόληση), ο βραβευμένος 22χρονος Ταϊβανός βιολονίστας Yu-Chien Tseng ερμηνεύει τη Σονάτα για βιολί και κοντίνουο σε Σολ ελάσσονα, B.g5, γνωστή ως «Τρίλια του διαβόλου», του Τζουζέπε Ταρτίνι, το Νυχτερινό αρ. 2 από το έργο 27 του Φρεντερίκ Σοπέν, τη Σονάτα για βιολί και πιάνο αρ. 32 σε Σι ύφεση μείζονα, K.454, του Βόλφγκανγκ Αμαντέους Μότσαρτ, τη Σπουδή αρ. 6 (Variations on "The Last Rose of Summer") από το έργο Sechs mehrstimmige Etüden (Six Polyphonic Studies) του Χάινριχ Βίλχελμ Ερνστ, το τρίτο μέρος (Μελωδία σε Μι ύφεση μείζονα) από τη σύνθεση Souvenir d'un lieu cher, για βιολί και πιάνο, έργο 42, του Πιότρ Ιλίτς Τσαϊκόφσκι, και τέλος, τις Παραλλαγές σ' ένα πρωτότυπο θέμα, για βιολί και πιάνο σε Λα μείζονα, έργο 15, του Πολωνού βιολονίστα και συνθέτη Χένρυκ Βινιάφσκι.

Τον Yu-Chien Tseng συνοδεύει στο πιάνο ο διακεκριμένος πιανίστας ακομπανιατέρ Rohan De Silva από τη Σρι Λάνκα.

Η ηχογράφηση του άλμπουμ έγινε στο Βερολίνο τον Οκτώβριο του 2016 και κυκλοφόρησε από την Deutsche Grammophon τον Ιανουάριο του 2017.

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Yu-Chien Tseng | Reverie

Giuseppe Tartini (1692-1770)

♪ Sonata for violin & continuo in G minor, B.g5 "The Devil's Trill" (1740)

i. Larghetto affettuoso
ii. Allegro
iii. Grave – Allegro assai

Frédéric Chopin (1810-1849)

♪ Nocturne, Op.27 No.2 (1836)

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791)

♪ Sonata for violin & piano No.32 in B flat major, K.454 (1784)

i. Largo – Allegro
ii. Andante
iii. Allegretto

Heinrich Wilhelm Ernst (1812-1865)

♪ Étude No.6, Variations on "The Last Rose of Summer" (1864)

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840-1893)

♪ Souvenir d'un lieu cher, for violin & piano, Op.42 (1878)

iii. Mélodie in E flat major

Henryk Wieniawski (1835-1880)

♪ Variations on an Original Theme in A major, for violin & piano, Op.15 (1854)

Yu-Chien Tseng, violin
Rohan De Silva, piano

Recorded in Berlin in October 2016

Deutsche Grammophon 2017

Tartini's Le trille du diable (The Devil's Trill) first appeared in print in 1798, 28 years after the composer's death. A legend surrounding the piece either is derived from its nickname or gave rise to it. Supposedly, Tartini took refuge in a monastery after a secret marriage to one of his students. While sleeping at the monastery, Tartini had a dream in which he asked the devil to play the violin. The devil responded by performing a sonata. When Tartini awoke, he composed a sonata for violin in imitation of that played by the devil in his dream. In one version of the legend Tartini even negotiates a contract with the devil.

Giuseppe Tartini was a prolific composer who wrote hundreds of trio sonatas, violin sonatas, and concertos for the violin and other instruments. In his concertos he followed the formal principles of Vivaldi but wrote music that showcased his formidable technique. In his sonatas, all movements are in the same key, and binary form is clear and predominant.

The music connected with the sonata's nickname occurs at the very end, but the full sonata is a four-movement work with fairly conventional features for the most part. As Charles Burney (1726-1814) noted, Tartini's style changed around 1744 from "extremely difficult to graceful and expressive". This is evident in the very opening of The Devil's Trill. Tartini stresses a falling half step in the first melody, a slow, contemplative theme in 12/8 time. The melody is periodic, moving to the dominant in the middle then back to the tonic. Variations of the theme ensue, stressing the dotted figure from the first beat of the theme. Several deceptive cadences extend the central part of the movement before a varied return to the theme. The next movement, an Allegro, begins with a jagged idea that outlines a G minor triad. In a bouncy 2/4 time, the main theme is fast and highly decorated with grace notes and trills. The entire movement is repeated. A brief slow movement provides contrast with its cantabile melody and acts more as an introduction to the Allegro finale than as a self-contained movement. Repeated notes again outline the tonic triad at the beginning of the last movement. This dissolves into a transition with a repeated, modulatory figure in the solo violin over increasingly intense accompaniment from the continuo. This leads to a new, slow theme, in which chromatic alterations touch on G major and the dominant. The rest of the movement consists of alternations between these two themes until a bravura cadenza begins with trills that outline the main theme; this cadenza is the source of the sonata's nickname. The trills are very difficult, for the performer is required to trill on one string while performing rapidly moving notes on another. After the lengthy cadenza, the continuo joins for the last few, highly dramatic measures.

Source: John Palmer (

Yu-Chien Tseng at his recent visit to Beijing
When Yu-Chien Tseng was 5 years old, his teacher called his parents to school because he sang Happy Birthday out of tune.

"She was worried about my hearing, so my parents, who were themselves teachers, enrolled me for violin lessons in the hope that through the process of learning the instrument, I could hear the intonations and imitate melodies", recalls Tseng, a musician who was born in Taipei.

After six months of learning, it turned out that Tseng not only had the perfect pitch but also could play the violin well. In a year, he was performing with the Taipei Symphony Orchestra.

In 2015, Tseng got his big break by winning the second prize at the International Tchaikovsky Competition, the highest prize in the violin contest since nobody won the first prize that year.

"One of the biggest challenges was physical strength", Tseng says about his experience of competing. "I didn't realize I was tired until the next morning after winning the award."

The 22-year-old violinist, who continues to pursue his master's degree at New York's Juilliard School, visited Beijing recently to release his new album, Reverie, for which he selected a variety of solo violin works and sonatas of famous composers that include Giuseppe Tartini's Sonata in G minor, Chopin's Nocturne Op.27 No.2, and Heinrich Wilhelm Ernst's Variations on the Last Rose of Summer.

Reverie was recorded by Tseng after he signed up with Universal Music in August. The album was released under the label Deutsche Grammophon.

"This album means a lot to me. It's a very personal collection of my favorite music", says Tseng, who gave the title of the album symbolizing "dreamy and beautiful music".

One of his favorite pieces in the repertoire is Mozart's Sonata in B flat major, K.454.

"When you play it with emphasis on the contrasts, emotion, energy and drama, the work has many shades of Beethoven, reflecting the violin's romantic spirit", he says.

The selection of Tchaikovsky's Mélodie in E flat major from Souvenir d'un lieu cher, originally for violin and the piano, a rare example of the composer's chamber music, is described as "irresistible" by Tseng.

"It's just one of the most beautiful lines in all of music. When you hear it, you love it", he says.

Tseng recorded the album in Berlin in October along with Sri Lankan pianist Rohan de Silva, who said in an interview that he was impressed by the young violinist' performance.

"I admire his playing, especially his spontaneous response to music", said De Silva, who is renowned for his partnership with violin virtuosos like Itzhak Perlman.

Tseng says he is not good at talking but he can do it with his instrument. The expressiveness of music inspired the musician at an early age to make music his career.

At 13, he knew he needed to expand his musical education abroad. His parents were supportive and Tseng's father, who was a computer science professor back then, quit his job and accompanied him to Philadelphia to attend the Curtis Institute of Music, from where he graduated in 2016.

During his studies there, Tseng met two important violin teachers, Ida Kavafian and Aaron Rosand.

"I was introduced not just to solo violin repertoires I studied in Taiwan but also to chamber music, symphonic music and all the possibilities that one can explore with a violin", Tseng says.

Tseng is a regular performer at competitions and his musical talent enabled him to gain early success.

He won the Sarasate International Violin Competition, which is held annually in Spain, in 2009. In 2011, he was the fifth laureate at the Queen Elisabeth Music Competition in Brussels. He also won the first prize at the inaugural Singapore International Violin Competition in January 2015.

Having performed with the Philadelphia Orchestra, the National Orchestra of Belgium and the symphony orchestras of Singapore, Taipei and Navarra among others, Tseng says he dreams to travel the world as a soloist.

Despite tasting success at such a young age, he says he hasn't changed much.

"I am just always playing and always listening."

Source: Chen Nan (China Daily, January 2017)

Photo by John Beebe
Rohan De Silva is a Sri Lankan pianist. De Silva initially studied at Isipathana College, Colombo and later he migrated abroad to study at Royal Academy of Music, London and The Juilliard School, New York, while working closely with violin pedagogue Dorothy DeLay. He has been awarded numerous prizes and scholarships including a special prize as Best Accompanist at the 1990 Ninth International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow. The following year, De Silva joined the collaborative arts and chamber music faculty of the Juilliard School. In 1992, he was awarded honorary Associate of the Royal Academy of Music. His radio and television credits include The Tonight Show, CNN's "Showbiz Today", NHK Television in Japan, NPR, WQXR and WNYC in New York, and Berlin Radio. He has recorded for Deutsche Grammophon, CBS/Sony Classical, Collins Classics in London, and RCA Victor.

De Silva has accompanied violin virtuosos Itzhak Perlman, Cho-Liang Lin, Midori, Joshua Bell, Vadim Repin, Gil Shaham, Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg and others at venues including Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center's Avery Fisher Hall, Alice Tully Hall, the Kennedy Center, the Library of Congress, the Philadelphia Academy of Music, the Ambassador Theater in Los Angeles, Chicago Lyric Opera's Ardis Krainik Theatre, and concert halls in Europe, Japan and Israel. His festival appearances in the United States and abroad include the Aspen, Interlochen, Manchester, and Ravinia festivals, and festivals in Japan and New Zealand. He performs frequently with Itzhak Perlman, including PBS's Live from Lincoln television program. He is currently a faculty member at the Perlman Music Program on Long Island, The Juilliard School and the Ishikawa Music Academy in Japan.


Trailer | Yu-Chien Tseng: Reverie – Behind the Scenes

(HD 1080p)

See also

Yu-Chien Tseng – All the posts

The winners of the XV International Tchaikovsky Competition, 2015

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