Berlin Philharmonic's 'Unsuk Chin Edition': Unthinkable becomes reality

 人参与 | 时间:2023-12-10 12:43:51

“Something unthinkable has become a reality. It feels like a lifetime achievement to some degree,” said Korean composer Chin Un-suk of the Berlin Philharmonic album dedicated to her music.

Titled “The Unsuk Chin Edition,” the album released last month contains six works Chin performed by the world’s top orchestra between 2005 and 2022. It is a rare album of a living composer and only the second time after the philharmonic released, in 2017, an album of John Adams, who was the orchestra's 2016-17 season composer-in-residence.

The idea for the Unsuk Chin Edition was born in 2015, but it took longer than expected as two concerts were delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It was only after pianist Kim Sun-wook and the Berlin Philharmonic led by Sakari Oramowas performed Concerto for Piano and Orchestra in June 2021 and conductor Daniel Harding led the orchestra in the performance of "Rocana for Orchestra" in Oct. 2022 that the album was quickly put together.

Her first collaboration with the orchestra took place in April 2005 when violinist Christian Tetzlaff and the Berlin Philharmonic led by Simon Rattle joined forces to perform her award-winning Violin Concerto No. 1. The performance is the first track in the chronologically arranged album containing six compositions.

Speaking to The Korea Herald on the phone from Germany on Tuesday, Chin recalled her first in-person encounter with the Berlin Philharmonic when she was a college student. She was studying German at Goethe-Institut Korea, where she made the acquaintance of a member of the Berlin Philharmonic at a party that celebrated a visit by the orchestra led by legendary Herbert von Karajan. Thanks to making this acquaintance, she was able to go to the Sejong Center concert hall and watch the concert on the stairs. "Then, I didn't even dare to think that the top orchestra would be performing my works in the future," she said.

The collaboration that began in 2005 stretched nearly two decades as live recordings of six works were made. The result is a compilation of six performances of the highest quality.

For instance, the Concerto for Piano and Orchestra in 2021 was "the best performance possible with this piece," according to Chin. It was pianist Kim's debut with the Berlin Philharmonic.

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