To say that the diminutive Mr Kadouch is a very gifted young pianist with a brilliant technique and a bright future is an understatement. The program overall was very well-played. But the biblical adage “for unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required” came to mind – is this all there is? He is very musical and possessed of a prodigious technique – but what about that ineffable something that one sometimes hears, that moves us beyond words? Do we attend concerts to be impressed or to be moved? Back to that question later.

Caroline Doutre
Caroline Doutre

The program began with Haydn’s exquisite Variations in F minor. It had the air of a required inclusion, a token late-18th century piece on a program weighted heavily in Romantic through 20th century repertoire. Enough research has been done in the last 30 years in performance practice and historical instruments to have filtered into the mainstream (one would think), and this knowledge can indeed inform players of modern Steinways (it would be limiting and pointless to play Haydn only on historically-appropriate instruments). However, Kadouch over-pedaled to the point of consistently blurring harmonies as if he were playing a Romantic-era piece, which stripped the music of its pristine beauty.

The Schumann Sonata in F minor (“Concert sans Orchestre”) fared much better, showing off the gigantic technique that he possesses. Not a particularly well-known piece, and not one of Schumann’s finest, I wondered why Mr Kadouch chose it. In fact, his entire program avoided well-known mainstream works, which was at once refreshing yet puzzling.

The second half of the program began with Liszt’s transcription of Wagner’s “Spinning Song,” which was rather lackluster and unmemorable. The Shostakovich Preludes were quite fine though; each prelude was approximately one minute in length, and the writing was varied and suited Mr Kadouch’s temperament well. Two Debussy Préludes ended the program; played well, but again, somewhat lackluster.

But, back to the question of “is that all there is?” - for an encore, he played a stunningly gorgeous and haunting interpretation of Chopin’s Nocturne no.16 in C sharp minor, opus posthumous (sadly, he did not inform the audience of what he was playing, which would have been a nice bit of information for those not familiar with the piece).

Finally, at the last, I was moved beyond words.