Magazine article Strings

Chun Sisters Set Sights on Bartók's Dynamic Duos

Magazine article Strings

Chun Sisters Set Sights on Bartók's Dynamic Duos

Article excerpt

Sophomore recording finds violin-playing siblings in top form

DAVID VERNIER, writing for Classics Today, began his review of violinists Angela and Jennifer Chun's 2008 surprise hit Fantasy like this: "It's been a long time since a violin-centered chamber-music recording called out so demandingly from its package, 'Play me! Play me!'"

It's just what the sisters and their recording label, Harmonía Mundi, wanted to hear. It accelerated the career of these siblings - a second CD, Bartók: 44 Violin Duos, was released in January.

There's not much repertoire for two violins, but what there is could give the sisters some leverage to create and occupy a niche. The leverage comes from the one famous piece for two violins: Bach's Double Violin Concerto in D minor (which has spurred well over 100 recordings). If a seemingly inevitable recording becomes even a modest hit, the Chuns will be in demand from orchestras all over the world.

Angela and Jennifer have already been mining the available two-violin repertoire, from Bach, Vivaldi, and LeClair to Berio, Schnittke, Martinû, Milhaud, and Arvo Pärt (his serene Tabula Rasa). They have a lot going on with living composers, too. In August, the sisters helped the Aspen Festival celebrate its 60th anniversary with a 25 -minute, three- movement double concerto by Grawemeyer Award-winning composer George Tsontakis. The title of the piece is "Unforgettable," based on the Nat King Cole standard.

In addition to Tsontakis, the Chuns have recorded modern works by Sebastian Currier, Behzad Ranjbaran, Schnittke, and Isang Yun, whose gorgeous sonata, of which they gave the world premiere, is on Fantasy, along with Yun's "Pezzo fantasioso. …

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