Violinist Caroline Goulding offers pleasing, polished performance at Rockville

December 5, 2011

Violinist Caroline Goulding, 19 and an undergraduate at the New England Conservatory, is already a Grammy-nominated recording artist for Telarc. She has performed with the Cleveland Orchestra, the National, Houston, Toronto and Dallas symphonies, and has given a debut recital at the Kennedy Center.

Her return here, Sunday evening at the Rockville Jewish Community Center, reaffirmed her precocious talent and musical development.

Programming-wise, Goulding is past the look-at-me stage; her recital featured three big duo sonatas with piano by Mozart, Schumann and George Enescu. Pianist Dina Vainshtein grabbed the spotlight with relish and gave full measure of the music while never overbalancing.

Goulding’s playing features a clean, polished sound and musical sophistication beyond her years. The subtle details she brought out in the Mozart and Schumann sonatas were those of a well-seasoned artist.

Shorter works of Saint-Saens and Fauréwere nicely turned, though the opening octaves of the Saint-Saens “Caprice” got away from her.

The only noticeable chink in her otherwise impressive technical armor is a weak fourth finger, which wobbles, particularly in octaves. And her sound is not as large as other violinists’. A recital in a small venue is one thing, but if she is to sustain a career as a soloist, she may need to alter the balance between nuance and projection. Still, this is a young woman with a sparkling future.

Battey is a freelance writer.

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