David's Review Corner
, February 2020
Ji Hyung Park was the winner of the Seventh Changsha International Guitar Competition in 2018 which he added to a long series of prestigious triumphs.
Born in Korea in 1993, his mature guitar education has been in Paris where he was a student of Roland Dyens, latterly studying in the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. He has chosen a rather predictable programme for this debut Naxos release, opening with transcriptions of three Scarlatti harpsichord sonatas, the disc’s contents are the standard competition war-horses. In length the disc’s two major works are Takemitsu’s In the Woods, and Castelnuovo-Tedesco’s familiar pastiche 1934 sonata in the style of Boccherini. The one novelty is the recorded premiere of The Ancient Cyclades by Leo Brouwer, the ‘test piece’ commissioned for all the finalists in the Changsha competition. It requires fast moving fingers in both hands, the content more atonal than melodic as it goes through the whole gambit of dynamics. I equally enjoyed the performance of the scene-painting in the Takemitsu score, and throughout I am impressed by Park’s high degree of subtlety in his shaping of phrases. Today we are becoming more used to young guitarists relying on a show of technical brilliance. He ‘signs off’ with Toots Thielemans’ Bluesette, and makes me hopeful that he will enjoy a major career. © 2020 David’s Review Corner