David Lewin, in past performances, has demonstrated that he is one of the most capable and sensitive pianists at Harvard. His recital in the Lowell House Junior Common Room on Sunday evening was disappointing only because it was not up to his own standards.
The Lowell House junior seemed plagued by nervousness throughout the first half of his program. In Bach's Chromatic Fantasy and Fugue he missed too many notes and his stiff interpretation did not do justice to this most rhapsodic of all Bach's keyboard works.
Arnold Schoenberg's mordant Six Little Piano Pieces provided fascinating atonal excursions. And Lewin played them authoritatively, with a light touch that was so noticeably absent in the first selection.
Lewin is far removed from the "tinkly" school of Mozart interpreters. His playing of the A Minor Sonata (K. 310) was bold and muscular. And though this, lacking grace and delicacy, may not be authentic Mozart, it impressed me as imaginative and original.
The best performed part of the program was Schumann's Kreisleriana. Technique and interpretation were absolutely beyond reproach. But it is difficult to understand why he devoted so many hours of practice to such an undistinguished piece of music. Kreisleriana is dull and repetitions. And Lewin scrupulously palyed all sixteen of the indicated repeats. If he has some special love for this piece, he might at least have shorn it of it superfluities.
Nevertheless, with strong fingers, imagination, and intensity, he remains an immensely talented young musician, who can, I am sure, better Sunday's performance in the future.