In performance: Joseph Lin
Joseph Lin pinch-hits for absent Fischer in program of Bach
by Joe Banno
It was fortuitous that Joseph Lin was ready to step in for violinist Julia Fischer on Saturday night at the Sixth and I Synagogue, when Fischer had to cancel her American recital tour. Lin, who recently recorded Bach's complete works for unaccompanied violin on the N&F label, performed the same program of Bach partitas that Fischer had been scheduled to play at this WPAS-sponsored event.
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Any missed opportunity to hear the brilliant young Fischer play is regrettable, but Lin's sterling readings of all three partitas provided ample compensation. Poised and understated in his approach, Lin found myriad ways to mold the musical line in these scores -- subtle dynamic contrasts, a natural rise and fall to his phrasing, slight hesitations to illuminate moments of tension and release -- while keeping the basic pulse and subtle undercurrents of dance rhythm steady. The music felt at once personally invested and structurally sound, and was carried on a tone that was lean, elegant and beyond reproach in terms of intonation.
The great chaconne that caps the Partita No. 2 was the riveting event it is meant to be. Bookended by intense statements of the movement's principal melody, Lin's performance built with mesmerizing concentration through scrupulously balanced chording, fluid and undulating arpeggios and chugging rhythmic material given an airy spring to its step.
Lin deserves kudos, too, for not missing a beat through the rumble of motorcycles outside, and the rhythmic thumping of feedback on the Synagogue's public address system that nearly ruined the first 10 minutes of the recital.
-- Joe Banno
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