Music Review | What You Missed Little did we at NUVO know two weeks ago when we announced his appearance that young Sergey Khachatryan, last September"s International Violin Competition of Indianapolis silver medalist, and possibly the most anticipated violin soloist of 2003 - would become ill on us. He had to cancel a number of European engagements, as well as ours, while recouping with his family in Frankfurt, Germany. On extremely short notice, the IVCI was able to engage its bronze medalist, Soovin Kim, to replace Khachatryan for the Feb. 11 Suzuki and Friends" Laureate Series. Kim joined the IVCI"s fourth place laureate Frank Huang in a nearly packed Indiana Historical Society Theater for a generally memorable concert evening.
Soovin Kim filled in for the ailing Sergey Khachatryan at last week's Suzuki concert.
Bach"s Concerto for Two Violins and Strings in D Minor, BWV 1043 proved to be the program-ending highlight. Both highly accomplished string players, as were all six of last September"s IVCI finalists, Huang and Kim exchanged and shared Bach"s phrases - intricately frenzied in his outer movements and soaringly lyric in the slow one - with a near perfect duo blend. Despite Kim"s stepping in just a few days after performing entirely different repertoire in Philadelphia, the two played as though they had been touring together all season. Quite likely, Khachatryan and Huang would have produced more disparate timbres as the former"s tone is so arrestingly distinctive. Hidetaro Suzuki conducted his string ensemble with his usual finesse, especially so for dealing with one of Bach"s greatest concerted works. Regrettably, Zeyda Ruga Suzuki"s harpsichord, located at the ensemble"s right and rear, was essentially inaudible in the theater"s extremely dry acoustic; it and she should have been positioned just behind Mr. Suzuki. The concert began with a very tuneful Dvorak piece: his Miniatures in B-flat for Two Violins and Viola, Op. 75a. Mr. Suzuki joined Huang and violist Michael Strauss in a brief, four-movement work filled with some of the composer"s most engaging, Slavic lyricism - ending in a dumka-like elegy. Well done, and a good introductory to a program for otherwise larger forces. Mr. Suzuki then conducted Mozart"s now-quite-famous "little G Minor": his ambitious, four-movement Symphony No. 25, K.183. Having always taken a back seat to the composer"s mature Symphony No. 40 in that key, K.183 is now recognized as a well-crafted, large-scale achievement in the genre - for a 17-year-old. The use of four horns in place of the usual two produces a distinctive ensemble color for this period - and unfortunately became the bane of this performance. Suzuki"s foursome, three of whom are Indianapolis Symphony horn players, produced a disquieting number of slips and burbles, especially during the Minuet movement. This detracted from the pure beauty of the wind writing in the movement"s trio section. Kim had the evening"s only solo playing in the ensuing Mozart Violin Concerto No. 5 in A ("Turkish"), K. 219, which he had performed in the September competition. He expectedly demonstrated the same sense of style and musicality we heard then. It was here only that I found myself curious as to what Khachatryan would have done with it.