The recently established Boris and Sonya Kroyt Memorial Fund will enable the Library of Congress to present less well-known artists who are in the process of developing their careers. Appropriately, since the late Boris Kroyt was violist in the Budapest Quartet, the first such concert last night featured violist Miles Hoffman and four of his friends.
United by their nurturing at Juilliard, where all of them either have studied or are still studying, they applied their considerable talents to an unusual program of Bloch, Hindemith and Prokofiev. By far, the most dramatic piece was Bloch's suite for solo viola from his final years. Left unfinished at the composer's death, the work breaks off abruptly after moving through rarified realms that seem beyond musical gravity. Hoffman gave a sensitive and thoughtful performance, imbuing his warm tone with a pensive quality that caught the suite's inner meaning. His spirited partnership with pianist Maureen Wallis on an early Hindemith sonata proved equally impressive, doing much to counteract the music's diffuse, rambling character.
Teaming up with Wallis for a performance of Prokofiev's brilliant D-major sonata, violinist Junko Ohtsu combined limpid grace and lyrical intensity to sound the evening's most individual note. For the closing First Piano Quintet by Bloch, violinist Nicholas Mann and cellist Michelle Djokie joined the group, which matched the composer's fury with its own brand of intensity.