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Corey Cerovsek, a Canadian violinist who made his debut on Sunday afternoon, earned degrees in music and mathematics at Indiana University when he was 15 and recently completed his doctoral studies in math. His manager's sales brochure lists 66 concertos and orchestral works that he is available to perform. He is also said to be an accomplished pianist. With orchestra, he has been known to play the Beethoven Piano Concerto No.3 on the first half of the program and the Sibelius Violin Concerto on the second.

What Mr. Cerovsek has to offer is well beyond the dazzling but clinically fastidious playing one so often hears from young wizards. That is not to say that he is imprecise: in the Strauss Sonata in E flat, the Schubert Fantasy in C and the Ysayc Unaccompanied Sonata No.6, his pinpoint accuracy in quick, densely notated passages was often breathtaking. His sound was large - too large for the Fricks 175-seat hall, at first, although he pulled back as he reconsidered the space - and rich in coloration.

Yet precision and tone were not the attributes that made the strongest impression. His most winning moments were those in which he took risks. In Kreisler's Variations on a Theme by Corelli, Bartok's Rhapsody No.1 and Wieniawski's Variations on an Original Theme, he was not afraid to sacrifice tonal sweetness for the sake of expressivity.

He was at his most exciting, in fact, in the sections of the Bartok and Wieniawski that demanded an almost Gypsy-like-brashness. His playing, all told, was closer to the style of Elman's or Kreisler's time than to what one expects of a polished newcomer. And one had the sense that he arrived at this style intuitively, not through imitating old recordings.


 

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