Encore My Good Sir

Matt Bailey
Fine Music 2MBS (Australia)
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Lin Jiang and Benjamin Martin perform on this recent release from Melbourne-based record label Melba Recordings, titled Encore My Good Sir. Lin, a 23-year-old University of Melbourne graduate, leaves no doubt in the listener’s mind that he has in recent years become a performer with the maturity of sound well beyond his age. Accompanying Lin is the formidable talent of pianist Benjamin Martin, whose prior expertise in contemporary repertoire proves useful given the choice of pieces presented on this recording. Including works by Salonen, Hindemith, Ketting and the local composer of the title track Thaddeus Huang., it is also bunched together …  with the likes of Schumann and Bach. In this recording, Lin and Benjamin successfully convey the musical integrity and emotion that is all too often lost in pieces of this calibre, but one can’t help thinking that it could have made a better co-ordinated whole if they had stuck to the 20th century repertoire that is already executed so perfectly. Standouts include the often challenging and haunting Elégie by Poulenc, Hinemith’s Sonata and Thaddeus Huang’s Encore My Good Sir, a real crowd pleaser and great note to end on.