Harp & Piano
Hye-Yun Chung, Harpist, Plays Faure’s ImpromptuSolo harp concerts are a perilous way to make music. The instrument is a difficult one to master, and its built-in imitations are such that even expert playing can quickly grow tedious unless there are other instruments on hand to expand the available range of texture and dynamics, not to mention the available repertory. Wednesday night at Carnegie Recital Hall, Hye Yun Chung had no such assistance, yet her harp recital was absorbing from start to finish.Miss Chung, a native of Korea, has studied at Juilliard and the University of Arizona, and is a member of the National Orchestra Association. Her playing style is assertive and incisive, and she showed she has the facility and poise to handle a demanding program. A key factor in the recital, beyond the sheer conviction and personality the brought to the music, was the know-how with which she used her technical resources to move the line, or mold a long, arching phrase. The playing was never slack or directionless.Miss Chung was at her best in Faure’s Impromptu (Op. 86). For some harpists, the piece mainly evokes graceful curves and fragrant mists. Mis Chung, however, provided a gripping, heated account. In Liszt’s “Le Rossignol,” a transcription by H. Renie, her approach was stylish and idiomatic; passionate, intense, and flexibly attentive to detail without losing sight of the whole.The program also included solo sonatas by Hindemith and John Parry, plus various shorter works. Miss Chung may not be the most serenely polished harpist in memory - technical fumbles occasionally marred the flow, and she sometimes attacked the strings more vigorously than she had to. But, with her keen musicianship and interpretive flair, she had something more enduring than sleight-of-hand virtuosity to offer.
“Miss Chung had fire and dynamism...With ease she showed her ability to display tonal styles, from the choral declarativeness of a Bach prelude to the romantic impressionistic style of a Debussy tone poem. She was received with bravos.”
“The audience was moved by her flawless performance. Her recital was a dazzling display of virtuoso playing on the harp. The standing ovation lasted several minutes.”
“Her light delicate touch allowed the angelic sounds of the difficult instrument to radiate throughout the theatre with faultless beauty.”-University Times, California State University, Los Angeles”The technique she displayed in the recital demonstrates that she is a leading harpist in Korea.”
“She displayed her remarkably sensitive technique. Miss Chung captivated the audience with her harp, her music, and her personality...She is an accomplished performer and a musician with a rich understanding of her instrument and its music.”
(Musical Colors: Hye-Yun Chung Bennett, harp; Wayne Hedrick, flute)”With the possible exception of drums, the flute and harp seem the most ancient and universal of instruments. They certainly complement each other well; they also invite the more intimate and inward types of music, for when combined they have a remarkable potential for exotic harmonies and instrumental color, but a rather restricted dynamic range and a weak bass. The current program, drawn from three centuries and Asia as well as Europe, certainly supplies a remarkable variety of tunes that sound especially good for this combination. Some are established classics everyone will have heard, but others are surely appearing on compact discs for the first time. The program, in summary, is excellent.And so are the soloists, both obviously experienced players. Klavier’s notes tell us about Mr. Hedrick’s performances and prizewinning recordings with both the National Symphonic Winds and P.D.Q. Bach. The note on Bennett emphasizes her education (California State, Los Angeles, and Juilliard) and her successful performances in the Carnegie Recital Hall. The compact disc proves that both are indeed world-class instrumentalists, here presented in closely miked, crystal-clear sound. This is a highly attractive recording for those who like music in its gentler and more poetic dimensions.”
©2017 Hye-Yun Chung Bennett