Music Review: Truly compelling festival opener
By Jim Lowe
Staff Writer | August 27,2014
Photo by Dana Govett
Violinist Soovin Kim and cellist Marcy Rosen rehearse Beethoven’s Piano Trio, Opus 1, No. 1.
COLCHESTER — The Lake Champlain Chamber Music Festival opened Sunday with one of the most compelling concerts in its six-year history. The program of traditional masterpieces at the Elley-Long Music Center showcased the depth of this excellent festival’s performers.
Emblematic was a superb performance of Beethoven’s Piano Trio in E-flat Major, Opus 1, No. 1. Played by violinist Soovin Kim, the festival’s founder and artistic director, cellist Marcy Rosen and pianist Ieva Jokubaviciute, it comprised a full range of emotions, from passion to tenderness, all restrained by the work’s Classicism — and therein found real musical power.
Rosen, founding cellist of the Mendelssohn String Quartet, was the anchor, performing not only with a warm lyricism and expressiveness but with a real sense of authority. Kim matched her all the way with his expressiveness and shimmering sound. All was complemented by Jokubaviciute, a frequent Kim collaborator, who played with clarity and a deep musicality.
Most importantly, the three played with expertise and shared vision. The slow movement, Andante cantabile, was just that, played with a mix of reserve and expressiveness that was exquisite. The remainder was played with spirit and barely restrained passion for a deeply rewarding experience.
Very special and deeply touching was Francis Poulenc’s 1939 song cycle “Fiançailles pour rire (Light-Hearted Betrothal).” Soprano Hyunah Yu and Jokubaviciute delivered the six decidedly French takes on love.
Yu, a regular visitor to the Green Mountain State, employed her uniquely colorful soprano in expressing poet Louise de Vilmorin’s enigmatic take on love, matched all the way by Jokubaviciute. Those colors, coupled with an understanding of the songs’ multilayered emotions, were particularly effective in the sassy “Violon” and sadly introspective “Fleurs.”
Yu and Jokubaviciute opened their part of the program with an expressive performance of English Baroque composer Henry Purcell’s florid but deep “Sweeter than Roses.” And the duo delivered all the overt Romanticism of four songs by Robert Schumann.
Closing the program was Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Divertimento in E-flat Major, K. 563, for violin, viola and cello, a 45-minute masterpiece of the same stature as Schubert’s great C Major String Quintet. Kim, violist Paul Nebauer and Rosen all played beautifully, though the performance wasn’t entirely comfortable.
Interestingly, the first menuet was hardly a stately dance, yet the second was beautifully elegant. There were also occasional bursts of passion that broke the elegant spirit of this Classical gem. Still, the slow movements, an adagio and an andante, were played with exquisite expressiveness and intimacy. Although it could have benefited from another rehearsal, this was a fine performance by excellent players. With the Lake Champlain Chamber Music Festival, Vermont is increasing its stature as one of this country’s summer chamber music meccas.
LAKE CHAMPLAIN CHAMBER MUSIC FESTIVAL
nWednesday: Festival Wednesday Concert — D. Ludwig: “Our Long War”; W. Bolcom: “Let Evening Come”; Bolcom and Morris: classic popular American songs, 7:30 p.m.
n Friday: Festival Friday Concert — Mendelssohn: vocal duets; P. Golub: world premiere; Schubert: “The Shepherd on the Rock”; Brahms: Trio for clarinet, cello and piano, 7:30 p.m.
n Sunday: Festival Closing Concert — Schumann: Five Pieces in Folk Style, Opus 102; Shostakovich: Seven Romances on Poems of Alexander Blok; Ravel: Piano Trio, 3 p.m.
All performances are at Saint Michael’s College’s Elley-Long Music Center, Fort Ethan Allen in Colchester. For tickets, call the Flynn Regional Box Office, 863-5966, or go online to www.flynntix.org. For a complete and detailed festival schedule, visit www.lccmf.org.