Clockwise from top left: guitarist Denis Sung-ho Janssens, violinist Lorenzo Gatto, cellist Young Song and violist Lyda Chen Argerich
By Lee Hyo-won
“The violin is my mistress, but the guitar is my master,” Niccolo Paganini once said.
The Italian composer may be best known as the violin virtuoso who forever changed the way the instrument was played, but the creative Romantic also left behind staple compositions for the classical guitar. In the Sonata Concertata Op. 61 the violin and guitar equally share devilishly difficult phrasings.
Fans will be able to relish not only Paganini’s red-hot Romanticism but also Piazzolla’s passionate nuevo tango — a group of chamber musicians will explore the striking similarities between the “diabolical” 19th-century Italian music and Latin blood-infused, modern Argentine oeuvres in “Travelling Paganini — Journey to the Sun,” on Wednesday in Seoul.
Korean-born Belgian guitarist Denis Sung-ho Janssens, who last year released a recording of Paganini’s “Ghiribizzi” under the Naxos label, will come together with a group of friends: violinist Lorenzo Gatto, winner of the 2009 Queen Elisabeth Competition, and cellist Young Song (Song Young-hoon), who is much loved for his 2006 Piazzolla album, “Tango,” which features the Japanese tango quartet Cuatrocientos. Seoulites can also look forward to the Korean concert debut of violist Lyda Chen Argerich, eldest daughter of master pianist Martha Argerich (who is known to be an avid supporter of Janssens).
The musical journey begins with Paganini’s “Ghiribizzi” and then continues to Manuel de Falla’s early 20th century-Spanish pieces before crossing over to the Latin world. The artists will offer six of De Falla’s Seven Spanish Songs, which revive the spirit of Spanish gypsy flamenco traditions in a coherent language that follows in the footsteps of Puccini and Wagner.
“I think that, in popular song, spirit is more important than words... The people it stems from are living proof of it, as they are able to produce infinite variations on the purely melodic lines of those songs embedded in their collective conscience,” the Spanish composer once said.
In a similar fashion, Argentina’s Astor Piazzolla conceived a brand new expression for the Latin people — nuevo tango. The concert will feature his much-loved “Oblivion,” “Zita” and “Libertango.”
“Travelling Paganini — Journey to the Sun” will take place Wednesday, at 8 p.m., at the LG Arts Center, Yeoksam-dong, southern Seoul. Tickets cost from 30,000 won to 100,000 won. Call (02) 749-8821.