Night Stories: Nocturnes
Jenny Lin, piano
Young pianist Jenny Lin sticks in my mind because her projects are so unusual. One of her CDs was “Insomnimania,” all about sleepless nights, and another was of virtuoso pianists’ arrangements of Broadway tunes. A recent Stravinsky disc of hers drew praise from The News’ Jeff Simon.
She has put together an attractive set here of Nocturnes, sensual pieces that reflect the night. Considering Lin has the goods and imagination, it’s puzzling that in some of the pieces – Chopin’s sensual B flat minor Nocturne, Op. 9, No. 1, for instance – she misses the music’s magic.
I think her heart lies more with the curiosities, and I don’t mind that. Charles Tomlinson Griffes’ evocative “The Night Winds” unfolds in shades of dark romance, and Paderewski’s Nocturne Op. 16 No. 4 is utterly lovely. Especially intriguing, in a restless rather than peaceful nocturnal sense, is “A Phoenix Park Nocturne” by former Soviet composer Arthur Vincent Lourie (1892-1966). As the notes say “it uses a strange mixture of nostalgic and almost mechanical kinetic elements.”
There also are brooding nocturnes by Edvard Grieg, Joaquin Turina and Mikhail Glinka, and famous pieces by Debussy, Liszt and Schumann. The beautiful “La Nuit” by Glazunov, smooth but never muddy, spotlights Lin’s clean technique.
– Mary Kunz Goldman