by Kevin McLaughlin
Every once in a while, a concertgoer is treated to an evening where all of the hoped-for elements are in place: the playing is first-rate, the performers exude warmth and ease, the audience is engaged, the program is a mix of familiar and unusual — in other words, a concert with Carnegie Hall electricity but summer festival Gemütlichkeit, even if it’s still February. Violinists Paul Huang and Danbi Um and pianist Amy Yang presented just such a concert to the Cleveland Chamber Music Society audience at Disciples Christian Church on February 21.
Seemingly beloved of violinists everywhere, the French composer Jean-Marie Leclair set the tone with the ear-friendly Sonata in e, scored for two unaccompanied violins. This Baroque duet allowed the players to distinguish themselves individually, sharing lead roles whenever a section was repeated. The middle Gavotte movement was elegant and unrushed. The final Presto showed off the duo’s flexible phrasing and light tone. The two complemented (without competing against) one another in sound and pace, resulting in an astonishing level of virtuosity.