IVCI joins with Ronen and David Kim 

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click to enlarge IVCI laureate David Kim
  • IVCI laureate David Kim

Another two-sponsor collaboration resulted in yet another captivating chamber concert. For the IVCI Laureate Series it was number five out of six for the season. For the Ronen Chamber Ensemble it was the last of four. Fifth-place laureate David Kim from the 1990 IVCI competition--now the Philadelphia Orchestra concertmaster--made another Indy appearance since then. (As I covered the 1990, I had felt Kim should have been the "winner" or gold medalist that year.) Their program surveyed works of Stravinsky, Corigliano, Brahms and Dohnányi.

Using the services of IVCI piano accompanist Rohan De Silva, Kim opened with Stravinsky's Suite Italienne for Violin and Piano. This is a condensation and reworking of the composer's orchestral ballet music to Pulcinella (1920), which, in turn, was derived from music of short-lived Giovanni Pergolesi (1710-1736). Stravinsky threw in just enough "wrong notes" to give it a modernist flair; in any case it is tunefully engaging.

Ronen players David Bellman, clarinetist; Ingrid Fischer-Bellman, cellist; and Nancy Agres, violist joined Kim and ISO violinist Philip Palermo in John Corigliano's (b. 1938) Soliloquy for Clarinet and String Quartet--in other words, a clarinet quintet. Its somber mood throughout was enhanced by Kim's baleful high notes. Otherwise Kim gave us brief examples of both pizzicato and "sul ponticello" (bowing almost on top of the bridge for a sinister effect) playing.

Kim and De Silva returned to give us Brahms' Violin Sonata No. 2 in A, Op. 100 (1886), the second of three he wrote for the combination. Its opening tune strongly resembles Wagner's "Prize Song" from his decade-earlier opera Die Meistersinger--that is, till it goes off in another direction. As with the Suite Italienne, Kim's well burnished tone tended to dominate the piano--some of his high notes occasionally piercing. Still, they played both pieces with precision and well executed dynamic shaping.

The concert closed with perhaps the evening's most interesting work, Ernst von Dohnányi's Sextet in C for Piano, Violin, Viola, Cello, Clarinet and Horn (1935). An unusual combination, to be sure, but the colors it wrought, coupled with its wide ranging moods, made it a celebratory composition with which to end the program. ISO principal French hornist Rob Danforth added his talents to those already named for this one. Those who play together stay together. And they did from start to finish. April 17; Indiana History Center

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