American violinist Soovin Kim has been packing them in at the concert halls of late, and Cleveland-based label Azica Records' release Soovin Kim, Niccolò Paganini: 24 Caprices provides an easy grasp of the why and how of this phenomenon. From the first note in these Caprices this recording pricks up one's attention; "gosh this guy is good" will be one immediate response, but a secondary one will probably be "this is very musical as well." Kim certainly does not serve slightly cold, warmed over Paganini here; these caprices are rich with feeling in addition to being fleet and dazzling in a pyrotechnic sense. Kim, a frequent flyer at the Marlboro Music Festival and already a seasoned concert artist, does not seem to have recorded on his own before, and Azica deserves credit for recording him well -- the full tone of the violin is captured in a slightly reverberated space that deadens the scrape of the instrument and helps to provide body. However, Mr. Kim provides the rest, and it's something else; although there are many recordings of Paganini's Caprices, this work is notorious in that normally one tires of the solo violin sound after awhile and it can get boring to listen to on recordings, although not so in concert. Not so here -- Kim imbues his performances of each caprice with such dynamic contrasts that your ears keep up with it, and some of Soovin Kim, Niccolò Paganini: 24 Caprices will have you on the edge of your seat. It is a terrific recording, and is easily recommendable.
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AllMusic Review by Uncle Dave Lewis
|Caprices (24) for solo violin, Op. 1, MS 25|