Poème, Op. 25
Sonata No.9 in A major for violin and piano, Op. 47 ("Kreutzer")
“La fontaine d’Aréthuse” from Myths, Op. 30
Sonata in A Major for violin and piano
Friday February 29, 2008 - Violinist Mayuko Kamio and pianist Noreen Cassidy-Polera offered a programme today at the Caspary Auditorium that made the cold trek to the Far East side very much worthwhile. Their selections, listed above, gave the two excellent musicians many opportunities to display both their technical and interpretive powers. Ms. Kamio, who made her debut at age ten in a concert under the baton of Charles Dutoit, has since performed with such illustrious conductors as Mstislav Rostropovich, Zubin Mehta, Yehudi Menuhin and Eliahu Inbal. She has won top prizes at several prestigious competitions; she plays a 1727 Stradivarius. And she plays it superbly.
Ms. Kamio and Ms. Cassidy-Polera are refreshingly free of theatricality or any superficial elements in their music-making. Both women draw on great depths of emotion but they never become overwrought or phony; they seem instead to channel their feelings directly into their playing. Ms.Kamio was so invested in the music and so truly inhabiting her own world that it often seemed we were eavesdropping on something very private. Even in the most virtuoso passages she never shows off; everything is scrupulously musical with a profound sense of inner radiance. Ms. Cassidy-Polera likewise wants the music to speak to us directly; they are a very compelling duo.
Ms. Kamio created the atmosphere immediately as she delved into the gorgeous textures of Chausson's POEME; she displayed voluptuous tone and impeccable trills while Ms. Cassidy-Polera cushioned her with a satiny approach. In Beethoven's Kreutzer Sonata the partnership blossomed further and Ms. Cassidy-Polera showed herself to be much more than a mere accompanist. Ms. Kamio sure-handidly met all the technical demands while infusing the classical structure with a deep sense of 'singing'.
The young ladies resumed their demanding programme after taking a very short break; other violinists might have needed a longer recovery time after the long play of the Beethoven, but Ms. Kamio seemed eager to reveal more of her incredible gifts and in fact surpassed herself in the second half. She played the shining, illusive Szymanowski "Fontaine d'Arethuse" from MYTHS with a mixture of delicacy and passion that was breathtaking. The overwhelming beauty of each melodic statement seemed to pierce the heart like a crystalline blade. Ms. Kamio's tone shimmered and glowed as Ms. Cassidy-Polera took a similarly ecstatic approach; I wanted it to go on and on.
The familiar Sonata in A Major by Cesar Franck was delivered with full-blown lyricism by both women; Ms. Kamio's passionate phrases alternated with moments of dynamic risk where she sustained an arc of piano/pianissimo with impressive control. Ms. Cassidy-Polera was especially fine in the pulsating mystery of the second movement. Again, the sense of the music coming from within was arresting.
In response to the warm applause of the large audience, the musicians offered Tchaikovsky's Valse-Scherzo as an encore; this lively bravura piece is known to New York City Ballet fans as the finale of Peter Martins' ZAKOUSKI. Ms. Kamio and Ms. Cassidy-Polera seemed to revel in the demands of the piece, transmitting a sense of joy to the crowd who responded with a standing ovation.