It is fortunate when an artist's tastes and talents complement each other. Judging by his choice of program at the Library of Congress last night, violinist Dong-Suk Kang seems to have a predilection for athletic showcase music, and certainly his technical strengths lie in the direction of velocity and agility. The Variation movement of Schubert's C Major Fantasy found him all over the fingerboard and at his best. The pleasant commotion of the opening and closing movements of the Saint-Saens Sonata No. 1 also achieved a sense of perpetual activity and weightlessness.
Kang's playing, however, seemed restricted to two states, hot and cold. He was able to dig into the opening of the Stravinsky "Suite Italienne" with exuberence, but then leveled off into a very chilly exposition of the rest of the dance movements.
Much of the Schubert Fantasy is ornamental acrobatics, but Schubert never entirely forsakes song for long, and where there were lyrical passages, Kang's playing did not have the warmth needed to project them. Time after time the intensity of a long bowed phrase faltered, the victim of a lapse of attention.
Pianist Barry Snyder spent much of the evening in the background. When he did assert himself, it was with welcome strength in the last movement of the Schubert.