Laura McDowell – 9/23/12

“Without a doubt the Bruch concerto was the highlight of the afternoon. Bruch finished composing the concerto in 1866, and then revised it according to the advice of violinist Joseph Joachim who first performed it in 1867. Joachim later highly praised the work, calling it ‘the richest and most enchanting’ of the nineteenth century’s four great violin concerti. It has a sort of Mendelssohnian tunefulness coupled with virtuosic demands, all bundled within a three-movement concerto form that deviates from formal conventions in intriguing ways. Kim is a brilliant performer with a great understanding of stylistic nuance. He plays with an elegant economy of motion, and never resorts to the histrionics of large gestures seen so frequently on stage. In fact, I believe he inspired the best playing of the afternoon from the orchestra that appeared to be actively listening to his tempi, dynamics, and articulations. Portnoy kept the balance between the soloist and orchestra finely monitored so that all could be clearly heard. The excitement generated from this performance brought whoops of approbation and a standing ovation.” —Laura McDowell, Classical Voice of North Carolina