Music Review: Masterful Beethoven closes Celebration Series
By Jim Lowe
Staff Writer | May 27,2013
BARRE — Masters playing masterpieces: It doesn’t get much better than that in chamber music.
That’s just what happened Saturday at the Barre Opera House when violinist Soovin Kim and pianist Ieva Jokubaviciute performed four of Beethoven’s 10 sonatas for violin and piano, closing the 2012-13 Celebration Series.
Their performances were masterful and sublimely beautiful. And the audience showed its approval not only with an enthusiastic standing ovation, but with a very rare rapt silence during the performances — you could nearly hear the proverbial pin drop.
The crowning moment in the concert, as well as among the sonatas, was No. 10 in G Major, Opus 96, the final work on the concert. Not overtly passionate or “exciting,” it demands substantial technique and a depth of understanding to deliver its sublime and beautiful message.
Kim and Jokubaviciute performed the work in all its depth and beauty, achieving its quiet passion and grandeur. Jokubaviciute’s clarity not only revealed the layers of meaning, it drew the listener in. Kim played with a warm lyricism and just the right amount of restrained passion to match Jokubaviciute all the way.
Particularly the slow movement, Adagio expressive, was just that, rivetingly expressive. It was a splendid and rewarding performance by these most able 30-somethings.
Kim, who grew up in Plattsburgh, N.Y., and spent high school years with the Vermont Youth Orchestra before embarking on an international career, is familiar to Vermont audiences, in part, because of his Lake Champlain Chamber Music Festival in Colchester each August. But this year Kim has revealed a new maturity and depth in his playing, beginning with a March performance of Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante, K. 364, with the Burlington Chamber Orchestra. This concert underscored that.
The Lithuanian-born Jokubaviciute and Kim met while students at Philadelphia’s Curtis Institute of Music, and later at Vermont’s Marlboro Music Festival. (She also played a violin and sonata recital at Rutland’s Paramount Theatre with Bella Hristova, another Marlboro alumna, last season.)
Jokubaviciute plays with great clarity and accuracy in a classical manner, using sound and rhythm subtly yet achieving great expressiveness. Kim’s warm lyricism and overt expressiveness complemented Jokubaviciute beautifully. The two have been performing together frequently for several years and, with this concert, have now performed all of Beethoven’s 10 sonatas together.
Warm lyricism marked the Sonata No. 8 in G Major, Opus 30, No. 3. Kim and Jokubaviciute performed the outer fast movements with requisite dignity and passion, as well as the depth, but it was again the slow movement, Tempo die Menuetto ma molto moderato e grazioso, that proved sensually beautiful.
Effervescence was the mood of the much earlier Sonata No. 3 in E-flat Major, Opus 12, No. 3. Here, Kim and Jokubaviciute simply shared the joy of this more straightforward music. Again, the slow movement, Adagio con molto espressione, was exquisite.
Interestingly, the opening work was less successful than the rest. Apparently Kim and Jokubaviciute weren’t quite warmed up when they played the passionate Sonata No. 7 in c minor, Opus 30, No. 2. While the performance lacked the freedom and depth of others, few would have called it anything less than excellent — had they not heard the subsequent performances.
Saturday’s performance of Beethoven sonatas by Kim and Jokubaviciute represented chamber music at its best.
For information about the 2013-14 Celebration Series, call (802) 476-8188, or go online to www.barreoperahouse.org.