Violinist Yevgeny Kutik, born in Minsk, left what was then the Soviet Union with his family in 1990, when he was five. The title Music from the Suitcase is autobiographical, referring to a suitcase full of sheet music that his family brought on the journey to the U.S. The young musician, as he grew and studied, became familiar with and increasingly interested in its contents, which are notable in at least two respects. First, the collection is a kind of family album, and like many such things it is a real mixed bag. The repertoire has a pleasing irregularity, ranging all the way from a chestnut like Rubinstein's Romance in E flat major, Op. 44/1, in a violin arrangement by Wieniawski, to some virtually unknown music of the late 19th century. Stravinsky's The Fairy's Kiss, is a central feature, in a violin arrangement by the composer himself (with Samuel Dushkin), and it would be rare to find Stravinsky paired with the Romantic music on the program in any other context. Second, many of the pieces, including the Stravinsky, have extramusical connections to Russian theater, stories, or folklore. The result is something personal and distinctive, and Kutik wisely ramps down the dimensions of his playing: he doesn't present the music as a series of encores, but as fragments of lived experience. A lovely, evocative album that promises great things from a comparatively young performer.
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AllMusic Review by James Manheim
|Rhapsody 'Hungarian Tunes'|
|The Fairy's Kiss Divertimento|