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Just in: Decca signs ‘prettiest’ Chinese violinist

Our China correspondent, Rudolph Tang, reports:

Hailed in the media as the “prettiest Chinese violinist”, Wen Wei has released her debut CD “Wen Wei” under Decca, a double CD pack including 14 pieces. The official Chinese press released recognized her as the “first Chinese violinist signed by Decca, joining the star-studded array of Decca violinists Leonidas Kavakos, Janine Jansen, Nicola Benedetti and Julia Fisher”.

It was strategically released in mainland China on December 26th, 2012, one day after the Christmas and several days before her nationwide tour with China Philharmonic Orchestra during the New Year’s occasion conducted by Long Yu. Ms Wen is one of the maestro’s favourite violinists.

wen wei

Ms Wen was born in 1981 in Sichuan province, home to several leading Chinese instrumentalists like Yundi and Sa Chen. She fetched the third prize in the 9th Sibelius Violin Competition in 2005 and launched her concert career in China shortly afterwards. She was married to singer/songwriter and the love birds now live in Beijing. A professor, she is on the faculty of Sichuan Music Conservatory.
The release is not for sale outside mainland China, including Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan.

Other notable Chinese musicians exclusively signed by major labels but missing from the international catalogue are percussionist Li Biao, violinists Xue Wei, pianist Niu Niu and Beijing Symphony Orchestra (EMI China), tenor Dai Yuqiang (Universal Music-Decca), violinist Mengla Huang (Universal Music-DG).
wen wei2

CD1 Violin recital

1. Elgar: Salut d’Amour, Op. 12

2. Elgar: La Capricieuse, Op. 17

3. Jungmann: Longing for Home, Op. 117

4. Poldini: La Poupee Valsante

5. Ponce/Heifetz: Estrellita

6. Sarasate: Caprice Basque, Op. 24

7. Massenet: Meditation

8. Sarasate: Jota de Pablo, Op. 52

9. Faure: Apres un reve, Op. 17, No. 1

10. Kreisler: Caprice Viennois, Op. 2

11. Schumann: Traumerei

12. Lasser: Unwanted Blues
13. Lasser: Vocalise

14. Ernst: The Last Rose of Summer

CD2 Violin sonatas

Strauss: Violin Sonata in E flat major, Op. 18

1. Allegro, ma non troppo

2. Improvisation: Andante cantabile

3. Finale: Andante – Allegro

Ludwig Thuille: Violin Sonata

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  1. So who has heard it and how do they rate her VIOLIN playing skills. If I was her and was described as “China’s prettiest violinist” – I’d be mortified. One wouldn’t get such a comment about a male violinist, would you?

    • Peter - a different one from the other Peter says:

      I do pity the current generation of wanna-be soloists, not only do they have to compete with those already established on the circuit, but they have to distinguish themself from the many dead greats who have become legends. How on earth do they do this ? No just on performance alone. “another violinist a bit like X” ” almost as good as Y” …
      What has this Wen Wei got that everyone from Heiffetz to Perlman and Joshua Bell have not got ? She’s a pretty Chinese girl. And Vanessa Mae is over the hill and not chinese enough, and Sarah Chang is a bit too Korean, and and… Yes there is a niche… Go for it !… .
      I suspect this says more about the target audience than the player. Maybe it doesn’t say much for Decca’s creative marketing ability.
      But good luck to her. Her Sibelius concerto on YouTube is not great, but it is ok, ish – and if you are a listener who is attracted by her prettiness, then maybe intonation and interpretation are secondary. Anyway she plays it better than I do (did) , so I shouldn’t be casting too many stones.

  2. Wasn’t there a new CD with the young pianist Niu Niu supposed to be released soon? I think it would be a big mistake to publish it only in China with the success he has had performing in the West recently.

  3. Timon Wapenaar says:

    Soon to be followed by recordings of “Peru’s Highest Violinist,” “Australia’s Hottest Violinist,” “Djibouti’s Smallest Violinist,” etc., etc. and ad nauseam. I hope the industry apparatchiks switch to the “more product, less PR guff” strategy soon, because there are only so many recordings of the Meditation from “Thais” that the planet can bear.

  4. Marketing victim says:

    It’s the same as with the female pianists (I will name no names) – it’s called FULL BODY MARKETING.

    Basically all these “intergalactic talents with stupendous techniques and fabulous interpretative powers” are interchangeable. And they all play the same repertoire that has been recorded hundreds of times by greater artists. In 5 years they will have vanished.

    So, buy the CDs for the photoshopped covers and go to the concerts for vicarious excitement. You will never see any brilliant soloists with buck teeth or fat legs.

  5. You know, today the likes of Heifetz and Kreisler might have to find other employment!

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