Itzhak Perlman and Rohan De Silva began with a Suite compiled by Alfred Schnittke from music he had written for films, for the most part emulating Baroque style. Early on, although exuding considerable charm, the playing felt rather perfunctory, not catching fire until the penultimate ‘Fuga’, and most fascinating was the concluding ‘Pantomima’ in which the invention becomes gradually more dissonant, ending without reaching the anticipated final cadence, an effect carried off brilliantly by the performers.
There followed an engrossing account of Beethoven’s expansive ‘Kreutzer’ Sonata. Perlman’s marvelous intonation for the opening chords and De Silva’s response found anticipation building until the tempo becomes Presto. The duo played with great vigor, not least in sforzando attacks, and the gentler second subject offered respite. In the third Variation of the central movement Perlman’s dark tone offered a rather sad take on the sunny Theme, and the peaceful coda brought one of the most emotionally powerful moments of the recital. A sudden chord on the piano returned to the Sonata’s home key for the galloping Finale, in which virtuosity was on display.
After intermission, a delightful performance of Dvořák’s Sonatina, which the composer said was “meant for young people”, adding that adults would “have fun playing it as well.” Like the better-known works written during Dvořák’s sojourn in America, the Sonatina bears influences of Native American music, particularly in the poignant Larghetto, which was composed at the Minnehaha waterfall in Minnesota. Among many catchy tunes, the standouts come in the rhythmic Scherzo and the fast Finale with its rather wild ride to the coda. Perlman and De Silva had fun.
The rest was introduced humorously by Perlman, beginning with Fritz Kreisler’s Tempo di Minuetto, one of numerous compositions that he attributed to another composer. Next the touching ‘Theme’ from John Williams’s score for Schindler’s List, which Perlman performs on Steven Spielberg’s film. The Wieniawski, originally for two violins, found De Silva assigned what Perlman described as the “lousy violinist” part whereas he dashed off the challenges of the “excellent violinist” role. Then a haunting traversal of Lensky’s melancholic aria from Eugene Onegin, and the recital ended with the ‘Spanish Dance’ from La vida breve, in which Perlman’s bouncing bow and intricate pizzicatos were infectious.
- Perlman & De Silva at Knight Concert Hall, Miami, March 7