Review: Yim & Adamek

Susy Yim, violin
Magda Adamek, piano
July 16, Dominion Energy Center

In the second program of the Richmond Symphony’s Summer Series sampling of works by Beethoven, symphony violinist Susy Yim and Virginia Commonwealth University-based pianist Magda Adamek took on one of the composer’s best-known and most challenging recital works, the Sonata in A major, Op. 47, the “Kreutzer,” scored, according to its creator, “for piano and violin obliggato.”

That instrumental characterization applies most audibly to its central andante’s set of variations, in which the piano is usually the leading voice. The outer movements are more democratically apportioned between the two instruments.

Yim and Adamek delivered a “Kreutzer” that was moderate in tempo but fully animated in projection and expression. The violinist’s fairly lean tone and the pianist’s straightforward clarity produced an agreeable balance of voices and maintained coherence in even the densest passages.

David Fisk, the symphony’s executive director, came to Adamek’s rescue midway through the andante’s variations as the pages of her score curled, and continued his page-turning-and-flattening duty through the final movement, a tarantella that both players treated with cheerful animation.

Adamek opened the program with two of Beethoven’s bagatelles: the F major, Op. 33, No. 3, a a set of spare elaborations on a folksy sing-song theme; and the B minor, Op. 126, No. 4, a turbulent fast march more than vaguely recalling the “Turkish March” from the composer’s incidental music for “The Ruins of Athens.”

After watching and hearing the first Summer Series program as it happened, I chose to take in this one after the fact. Delayed viewing proved to be as satisfying as live viewing.

The video stream of the recital by Susy Yim and Magda Adamek may be accessed through July 22, and subsequent programs in the Richmond Symphony Summer Series, at 6:30 p.m. Thursdays through Aug. 13, are open to limited numbers of patrons in Dominion Energy Center’s Gottwald Playhouse and via online streams. Tickets: $12 per concert. Details: (804) 788-1212; (Tickets may be purchased through links from that address.)

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