Chee-Yun: Good evening. I'm Chee-Yun. Tonight, violinist Lun Li joins us in the studio here on the Young Artists Showcase.
The Young Artists Showcase has been generously underwritten by the Harold W. McGraw, Jr. Family Foundation for over 45 years. During that time, the showcase has featured an incredible array of young musicians. We continue that tradition tonight with violinist Lun Li.
I had the pleasure of meeting and working with Lun earlier this year when we performed for the Young Concert Artists Chamber Music Concert at Zankel Hall. His stunning playing and professionalism was just incredible. So naturally, when I was given an opportunity to host the showcase, Lun was invited. Welcome Lun.
Lun Li: Hello.
Chee-Yun: You brought us some of the repertoire you played at the New York Debut Recital as well as this late sonata by Robert Schumann. What does this piece mean to you and where was this performed?
Lun Li: It was not a live performance. It was recorded at the DiMenna Center in, I think, April 2022.
Chee-Yun: Mm-hmm, it's a beautiful sonata.
Lun Li: Yeah, I thi- I think it truly is one of those underrated, uh, gems. The structure of the piece is rather classical, but the content is beyond wild, uh, full of fantasies, and at moments even almost psychotic. You know, this along with the other two sonatas were written in his later stage of life when he was struggling with what would be diagnosed now as bipolar disorder.
Lun Li: Although it's written in minor with a general tone of darkness and anxiety, there is this, uh, loveliest tenderest slow moment, uh,-
Chee-Yun: Yes, sure.
Lun Li: -Schumann's pouring out all his love for life in it. And the last moment finished in a glorious D major canon between the violin and the piano. So, um, you know, the piece resonated with me a lot when I first heard it fully performed live. I sat there and felt restless pretty much through the whole thing, and there is something so pensive that you can't really escape that world that he puts you in.
Chee-Yun: Wow, I felt the same way. And maybe perhaps you will make this sonata more popular than the A minor that we hear all the time. So, here is this Schumann sonata for Violin and Piano No. 2 in D minor, Op. 121 played by violinist Lun and pianist Andrew Hsu.
[MUSIC - Schumann: Violin Sonata No.2, Op. 121]
Chee-Yun: That was Schumann second sonata in D minor for Violin and piano played by Violinist Lun Li and pianist Andrew Hsu. It's time for a quick break now and then we'll be back with more from Violinist Lun Li here on the McGraw Family's Young Artist Showcase. Welcome back. It's the Young Artist Showcase on WQXR. I'm Chee-Yun here tonight with Violinist Lun Li. I am so pleased that you decided to share some of your New York Debut Recital program tonight. Please tell us about the next piece.
Lun Li: Yes. The next piece is gonna be Bartok's second violin sonata. You know, it has a, uh, an incredibly touching first movement full of fantasies and dreams, but delivered in a really hearty manner. It's like food that's too sour, too salty, or too spicy. You know, it's-it's a bit uncomfortable to listen to but incredibly beautiful. And, uh, the second moment is just endless fun, sometimes wild, hysteric, and sarcastic. And then after all this craziness, just like the Schumann, it finishes in a major chord, uh, a C major chord, as if all of this previous craziness was just a wild fantasy in your head that never actually happened.
Chee-Yun: Wow. I love it. Here is violinist Lun Li with pianist Janice Carissa playing the Bartok second Sonata.
[MUSIC - Bartók: Violin Sonata No. 2, Sz. 76]
Chee-Yun: That was violinist Lun Li with pianist Janice Carissa playing the Bartók sonata number two in C major. Now let's introduce the last piece of tonight's program.
Lun Li: Yes, the last piece is a transcription of the famous Schubert song Erlkonig. The piece was written for piano and voice, and you can imagine how difficult it is fitting 88 keys in a voice line onto a four-string instrument. But overall, I think it's a brilliant transcription and a great closing piece for today.
Chee-Yun: It's incredible that you actually saved the-- one of the most difficult pieces on the violent repertoire as your last piece of one of the most difficult violin recital repertoire that I've ever witnessed. And here is Schubert's Erlkonig, transcribed for solo violin, performed by violinist Lun Li.
[MUSIC - Schubert/Ernst: "Der Erlkonig" for Solo Violin]
Chee-Yun: That was an amazing performance of Schubert's Erlkonig arranged for solo violin by Ernst. To make sure our listeners don't miss you too much in America, do you have any concerts in the neighborhood that we can look forward to?
Lun Li: Yes. On April 20th, uh, 2024, at the Morgan Library in-in New York, I will play a solo violin program and all the music on the program will be in perpetual motion, which, you know, sort of embodies this relentless flow of time. And I'll be playing on three different violin setups, baroque, classical, and modern. So the instruments are also parallel to the time and motion idea.
Chee-Yun: Thank you so much for sharing your music and your stories and joining us here tonight at the WQXR Studios, Lun.
Lun Li: Yes, thank you so much Chee-Yun. I had so much fun here talking with you tonight. And, uh, I can't wait to see you again and talk to you again.
Chee-Yun: That completes this week's edition of the MacGraw Family's Young Artist Showcase, which is generously underwritten on WQXR by the Harold W. McGraw, Jr. Family Foundation. Here's Terry McGraw with more.
Terry McGraw: Good evening, everyone. It's great to be with you and it's always great being with the Young Artist Showcase and to hear these really wonderful and inspiring musicians as they continue to share their incredible gifts with us every week. I can't wait to hear the fabulous talent coming up on the showcase, and I am so pleased to be able to support the series all through its well over four decades on WQXR, and there's so much more to come.
Chee-Yun: Thank you, Terry. Many thanks to WQXR program producers, Laura Boyman and Max Fine, and our generous program underwriter Harold W. McGraw, Jr. Family Foundation. I am Chee-Yun. Thank you for joining us and have a great night.
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