Editor’s note: Julian Shepherd kindly wrote this review so that his wife, BAMirror reviewer Lee Shepherd, could attend a Madrigal Choir of Binghamton rehearsal.
Reviewed by Julian Shepherd
Soovin Kim and Ieva Jokubaviciute, two young but already internationally-known artists educated in the United States, presented a top-flight performance of violin and piano duets last Sunday (Feb. 19) at Binghamton University’s Anderson Center for the Arts. The concert was presented by the Binghamton Philharmonic.
Beginning with a J. S. Bach sonata for violin and harpsichord, Kim immediately showed a fluid, sensitive and commanding style while Jokubaviciute provided a vigorous and virtually continuous-motion counterpoint. The duo continued with Beethoven’s famous Ninth Sonata for Violin and Piano, the “Kreutzer.” The wildly varying moods of this virtuosic and brilliant sonata were exquisitely presented by both performers. The piece begins unconventionally with a series of pensive chords by the violin, soon followed by Beethoven’s characteristic alternation of madly passionate and more reflective passages. Kim and Jokubaviciute showed vigorous but not harsh interpretations of the fireworks that characterize this sonata, and quietly moving performance of the slower passages.
Following an intermission, Kim spoke to the audience and requested that applause be withheld until after completion of the next two pieces: Four Pieces for Violin and Piano by Anton Webern and Beethoven’s 10th (and last) violin sonata. The pieces by Webern are extraordinarily short and sparse and, as explained by Kim, certainly atonal and meant to be heard for the mood and color of the rhythms and sounds. Parts of the pieces are single sustained notes that were played so softly by Kim that they were almost inaudible.
The performers moved directly into the Beethoven sonata, which is quite different in style from the preceding Kreutzer sonata. Composed much later in Beethoven’s life, it is characteristic of his later, often more contemplative though no less passionate, style.
We were very fortunate to have such consummate and rewarding performers play in our community and hope we will be able to hear them again.