It Sandor Shapiro and David Lewin had chosen a more interesting program Sunday night, their concert would have been a complete success. Shapiro, a Dunster House sophomore, is a better than average violinist with a vibrant tone and clear intonation. Pianist Lewin, a sophomore from Lowell House, plays with delicate simplicity. Their collaboration was remarkably well-balanced, both sonorously and rhythmically.
Of the three duo-sonatas on their program, only the Brahms G Major is really significant. This lyrical masterpiece, particularly in the first and last movements, has the same pastoral mood as the Second Symphony, written at about the same time. Lewin, with a light touch and skillful pedaling, produced a velvety Cascades-like tone that blended perfectly with Shapiro's suave violin timbre.
Mozart's Sonata No. 15, in B-flat, is pleasant, sunny music, but certainly not so deserving of performance as main of the composer's other works in this genre. As to from the lovely andante, the sonata has few passages of unusual beauty or originality. It is neatly put together, and shows Mozart's keen craftsmanship throughout, but that is all.
Not even the zestful playing of Lewin and Shapiro could rescue Beethoven's Sonata No.2 from its inherent dullness. Musicologist Paul Schauffler has called this an "optimistic" sonata, but to me it seems a very unpromising precursor of works like the Spring and Krentzer Sonatas. In theme and harmony it sounds, at its best, like bad Mozart.
Lewin and Shapiro have both shown that they are proficient musicians. But not until they become equally adept at selecting programs will they be able to make important contributions to Harvard's musical scene.