A LARGE CROWD gathered in the Lowell House dining room on Friday night to witness conductor Gerald Moshell and his friends ride two great warhorses to triumph. Marta Dabezies, in a firm performance of the Schumann Piano Concerto, shared the program with violinist Ronan Lefkowitz and cellist Yo Yo Ma in their much anticipated Brahms Double Concerto.
The audience was eager to match performance against reputation. By the concert's close, the musicians had clearly fulfilled expectations. Lefkowitz combined astute, polished playing with earnest expression. Ma played with piercing intensity and the dazzling technique characteristic of all his performances. Despite an occasionally oblivious Lefkowitz, Ma and Moshell together managed to avoid the pitfalls of coordinating two soloists with a large orchestra.
Dabezies displayed an impressive technique and a clear understanding of the music, but a lack of communication between soloist and orchestra prevented her Schumann Concerto from attaining the emotional heights of the Brahms. Discrepancies of tempo and dynamics marred the performance, particularly the third movement, which also suffered from disjointed orchestral playing.
Romantics like Schumann and Brahms express a grand emotionalism with which modern listeners still sympathize. On Friday, heartfelt and intense performances of this music left the sophisticated audience grateful and deeply moved.