San Francisco Chronicle | Sunday, June 1, 2008

There's something deeply appealing about violinist Jennifer Koh's advocacy for the new music she likes best. It's not just the consistently beautiful playing that she and pianist Reiko Uchida serve up on this fine collection of music by Jennifer Higdon, Carl Ruggles, Lou Harrison and John Adams - although that is certainly a big selling point. It's also the unassuming air about the whole project, the sense that Koh isn't out to make a statement as much as to champion a few well-chosen scores. And her choices are first-rate, from Adams' witty, casually ingratiating "Road Movies" to the sweet-tempered melodies of Harrison's "Grand Duo." The headliner is "String Poetic," a sleekly alluring five-movement suite written for these two players and performed here with plenty of tenderness and pizzazz.