Violinist Caroline Goulding gives a polished, purposeful performance

09.25.11
Caroline Goulding
Kansas City Star

By John Heuertz

Listen to violinist Caroline Goulding play, and you’ll understand how a teenager could talk someone into letting her travel around the country with a borrowed Stradivarius.

Goulding, 19, and pianist Dina Vainshtein opened the Harriman-Jewell Series’ 47th season with a free Discovery Concert on Saturday night at the Folly Theater that showcased Goulding’s great musical gifts.

Goulding and Vainshtein have very similar musical minds, and both played with tremendous authority.

They opened the program with wonderful unity of purpose and feeling in Mozart’s 1777-8 G major violin and piano sonata.

He was young when he wrote it, and they rocked it Saturday night with his youthful gusto.

It has other moods too. But which of us did anything very lyrical as teenagers?

George Enescu’s carefully written A minor violin sonata borrows Gypsy violin tonality and technique for a piece “in Rumanian character” (his phrase).

It was the most difficult work, but perhaps with less actual music than the rest of the program — a possible reason this violin showpiece highlighted the “General Kyd” Strad that Goulding played, as well as her own astounding technical prowess.

Goulding’s sweet, engaged aesthetic did a lot to dampen the unsettling effect of Robert Schumann’s 1851 A minor violin sonata, whose odd air of detachment keeps growing as it’s played.

Gabriel Faure’s smooth, warm and elegant Romance for Violin and Piano makes one yearn for Provence as Kansas City days grow shorter, darker and colder — and Faure’s musical qualities were evident in Goulding’s Saturday night performance.

Faure’s teacher, Camille Saint-Saens, provided “a little dessert” Saturday night — his Valse-Caprice for violin and piano.

For a century, it’s been a favorite concert vehicle for elite violinists.

Saturday night, Caroline Goulding demonstrated that she could take her rightful place in this group.