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SSO musicians LeDoux and Kim 'set the bar high' in CMM season opener

Three-work chamber music program ties in handsomely with Everson Museum's 'Turner to C (c)zanne' exhibit.

Civic Morning Musicals kicked off its Live! At the Everson series in impressive fashion Tuesday evening, sponsoring a recital by two prominent members of the Syracuse Symphony Orchestra that provided an appreciative audience yet another reminder of the depth of talent within its own backyard.

David LeDoux is principal cellist of the Syracuse Symphony Orchestra and an active chamber music performer in Central New York. I heard LeDoux's performance with violinist Jeremy Mastrangelo of the Brahms Double Concerto with the SSO last season, and wrote in my Syracuse Post-Standard review that "LeDoux is a rock-solid performer, demonstrating a secure command of his instrument and handling the tricky high register and double-stop passages with grace and (c)lan."

Pianist Daniel Kim is one of the gifted few who make the rest of us embarrassed to publish our resumes. An accomplished orchestral violinist and pianist, the current SSO keyboardist somehow found sufficient time outside the practice room to complete three degrees at Harvard -- including a PhD in experimental high-energy physics.

Of course, you don't need a doctorate in physics to recognize that in music, at least, the whole is often greater than the sum of its parts: That's what we call good chamber music playing. And Tuesday's synergistic collaboration between LeDoux and Kim suggest that this is one axiom that will stand the test of time.

The program opened with the Poulenc Cello Sonata, a neo-classical potpourri of contrasting movements whose shifting moods resemble more of a suite or divertimento than a serious sonata.

The tuneful first-movement Allegro spins out melodic lines spiced with a Lydian (raised fourth scale-degree) modal flavor, which is then followed by a Marcia that parodies the motor-rhythmic drive of Prokofiev. LeDoux's playing here demonstrated a firm command of pitch that extended into the high-register passages, although his sound could not compete with the Everson Museum's nine-foot Steinway Grand whose lid was raised in fully-upright position.

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