Missing the morning prelims at the Indiana History Center this week seems to mandate not judging my favorite participants so far. But focusing on some standout performances of Sunday afternoon would be a good start, especially since convalescence from recent surgery doesn't have me yet at 100 percent mentally or physically.
|Joshua Brown: A fresh 24th Caprice.|
Even well-schooled young violinists, adaptable though they may be, seem to shine particularly in one of the categories. This is where their personality can put a stamp on the music, though of course the goal is to sound commanding across the board so the jury passes them on to the next round. And all may get a special boost with evidence that they can be especially responsive to a pianist, whether in a Mozart sonata or an encore piece. Displaying the ability to be more than "all about the violin" is built into this competition from the start.
|Gyehee Kim: Depth of tone in Bach|
Her deep-toned, organ-like approach to the Adagio movement of Bach's G minor Sonata grabbed the attention favorably. A forthright sound and confident interpretive profile carried over to the Fuga, which verged on becoming a little too "dug in" — a characteristic of the seriousness with which Bach's fugal movements are usually approached.
|Boson Mo: Dramatic Mozart|
There were several first-rate performances of the encore pieces, starting with Alina Kobialka's performance of Wagner's "Albumblatt" as arranged by August Wilhelmj. Hers was an intense, lyrical interpretation with a beautiful ending. And Gyehee Kim's performance of Chopin's Nocturne in C-sharp minor, arranged by Nathan Milstein, displayed plenty of heart in the way she shaped phrases; it sounded as if she really had something to say in music that can come off as just a bonbon. The same might be said about the way Fabiola Kim and Arianna Dotto played Dvorak's Allegro moderato (Romantic Pieces, Op. 75, No 1), as well as of the steady ardor and convincing intimacy that Mo lent to Sibelius' Nocturne, op. 51, no. 3.