Violinist Edwin E. S. Kim pays tribute to his second hometown Vienna, where the 45-year-old violinist spent almost half of his life, in his third solo album, “Mein Niener Herz.”
The album, which translates to “My Vienna Heart,” includes 10 pieces by Fritz Kreisler, Ede Poldini, Franz Lehar and Franz Schubert, composers all associated with the Austrian capital.
Kim arranged the track list, which starts with Kreisler’s Rondino on a theme by Beethoven and ends with Schubert’s Rondo for Violin and Piano in B minor, D. 895, Op. 70, hoping to invoke listeners to fall in love with the city, Kim said at a press conference Monday.
His album also offers treats that are not frequently recorded -- Lehar’s “Hungarian Fantasy," Op. 45 and the aforementioned Schubert piece.
“('Hungarian Fantasy') is quite tricky to play," Kim explained, noting the expression of changes of emotions are "usually either fast or slow and there is no middle. I think it’s an inconvenient piece for a performer.”
Kim began thinking of going to Vienna after reading a biography of Schubert as a young boy. In 1994, after graduating high school, he headed to Austria to study at the University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna and and later at the University of Music and Performing Arts Graz.
“I think a performer is evaluated in the present. The present is formed of innumerable past times. In that sense, Vienna is an important place that had a great impact in forming me,” Kim added. Kim is currently based in Seoul where he teaches at Hanyang University, but Vienna is still his part-time home.
His album is part of his search for identity, Kim said. Last year, he unveiled his second album “Das Leben (The Life),” in which he expressed his feelings toward his mother.
“I think it’s a flow that shows my identity as a musician,” Kim said.
The album, released by Universal Music, was recorded in late 2020 and early 2021 at Tongyeong Concert Hall. He is accompanied on the piano by Melanie M. Y. Chae, Kim’s wife.
To mark the album's release, Kim will hold a recital at Shinyoung Chamber Hall in Seoul on Thursday.