IVCI Romantic/Post Romantic Finals - day one


The second of four IVCI semi-finals days differed from the

first in that the the standout was not one of the players, but rather one of

the selected pieces.  Stephen

Waarts, 23, born in the Netherlands

and now from the U.S.

must surely have captivated the IVCI's nine jurors with his performance of

Bartók's thorny, challenging Sonata for Solo Violin (1944).  Constructed with two Baroque

movements--a chaconne and a fugue--followed by linear writing (a melody) and a

presto, all cast in as modernist an idiom as existed then, it's surely one the

most difficult pieces in the solo-violin repertoire.

Waarts played the four movements as if he owned them, not

only assaulting the most difficult passage work with seeming ease, but doing it

with a near perfectly vibrant tone.  His cascade of "double fourths" in the

"ciaconna" seemed to flow by effortlessly, whereas his muted melody in the

third movement showed off his tonal vibrancy "to the nines."

Waarts' remaining offerings -- the Beethoven Sonata No. 8 in G, Op. 30 No. 1; Ellen Taaffe

Zwilich's Fantasy for Solo Violin (written for this competition and required of

all semi-finalists); and Ravel's Sonata in G--failed to reach the level of the

Bartók, principally because of his lesser control of his tone.  His vibrato varied considerably more,

without any musical meaning. 

Yet he was technically secure throughout his program.

The same can be said of the three remaining participants: Jinjoo Cho, 26, of S. Korea;Stephen Kim,

18, of the U.S.;

and Ji Yoon Lee, 22, S. Korea.  All had some difficulty maintaining beautiful

vibrati, though they were masterful in the other playing criteria.  Stephen Kim, 18, U.S. would have equalled

Waarts had it not been for the latter's supreme management of the Bartók.  Kim did give us an impassioned Beethoven

Sonata No. 7 in C Minor, Op. 30 No. 2.  Now let's see what happens on Sunday . . . Sept. 13; Indiana History Center


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