Sunday Afternoons series offers a unique chamber program on a Saturday night

By Sam Lopata

Violinist Soovin Kim performed music of Ysaye and (with colleagues) Dvorak Saturday night at Gusman Concert Hall.

Sunday Afternoons of Music offered a strongly performed and uniquely programmed chamber music event presented on an unconventional Saturday evening at Gusman Concert Hall.

Violinist Soovin Kim stepped out to welcoming applause, which he quickly silenced as he rapidly drew across his bow, commanding the audience’s attention with the opening trill to Eugene Ysaye’s Sonata No. 6.  The piece for solo violin places technique at the forefront with demanding flurries of runs and double stops, yet Kim displayed the technical prowess necessary while still maintaining a high level of artistry in his dynamic shifts and phrasing.  The transition midway through to a sumptuous Habanera rhythm provided further opportunity for Kim’s lyricism.

Alon Goldstein. Photo: Janette Beckmen

Pianist Alon Goldstein provided a more informal introduction, entering microphone in hand to talk briefly about the selected Debussy Preludes he was about to offer.  The selection of Préludes from Book IIc(Nos. 7, 8, 11, and 12) provided varied interpretive opportunities which Goldstein readily tackled. La terrasse des audiences du clair de lune and Ondine were standouts, highlighting Goldstein’s skills as a colorist as well as his ability to create both ethereal and whimsical musical portraits.

Cellist Amit Peled entered the stage, also with microphone in one hand, and his strikingly beautiful cello in the other. Peled revealed that he would not be playing the Guarneri cello listed in his program bio, but rather on a recent acquisition: the former Goffriller cello of Pablo Casals.  Having remained largely untouched for many years, Peled described adapting to the instrument as “trying to wake up an old man that does not want to get up.” However, any creaks and unsteadiness had clearly been worked out as the lower register particularly projected forth with warm strength and conviction.

Amit Peled

Peled’s ensuing interpretation of Brahms’ Cello Sonata No. 2 was dynamically compelling and sensitively phrased, yet his partnership with Goldstein proved somewhat unbalanced. The pianist was a bit too collegial, shying away from the strength of the piano part, which in this performance seemed like less of a equal partner and more of a light accompaniment.

To conclude the evening, all three players came together for Dvořák’s Piano Trio No. 3, Op. 65.  The blend of the musicians was commendable and lyric passages passed about from instrument to instrument with great fluidity.  The first two movements carried an air of passionate turbulence. The Adagio was given all the warm expression it warranted, particularly in Kim’s solos which he executed with a crystalline fragility.  The finale was thrown off with an intensity that at times made for shaky internal balances, though the fervor of the performance won the day as the men raced towards an enthusiastic coda.

For an encore, the trio performed an arrangement of the second movement from Beethoven’s Clarinet Trio, which the group dedicated to Doreen Marx, executive director of the Sunday Afternoons series.

Posted in Performances

Leave a Comment

Sun Jan 27, 2013
at 11:33 am
No Comments