News

15 Harvard Anthropology Professors Call on Comaroff to Resign Over Sexual Harassment Allegations

News

Harvard Title IX Coordinator Apologizes for Statement on Comaroff Lawsuit

News

Cambridge City Officials Discuss Universal Pre-K

News

New Cambridge Police Commissioner Pledges Greater Transparency and Accountability

News

Harvard Alumni Association Executive Director to Step Down

Perlman Takes a Bow

By Daniel M. Raper, Contributing Writer

When the violinist Itzhak Perlman walked onto the empty stage last Sunday to perform a recital in celebration of the life of arguably the greatest violinist of the 20th century, Jascha Heifetz, the expectation that filled the magnificent Symphony Hall was palpable. Some would say Perlman himself has taken over the mantle Heifetz has traditionally held. Even for those who don't believe that, this performance would have strengthened Perlman's bid for the title.

Anticipation hung in the air as the virtuoso sat down, tuned, the concentration evident on his face. Then he tuned to his accompanist, smiled, and began a two hour performance so complete in its exhibition of the skills of the violinist that the audience was left in awe.

The recital began with the Vitali Chaconne, a staple of Perlman's repertoire but no less beautiful for that. The piece, which was the first piece that Heifetz performed in America, allowed the violinist to display a good deal of technical mastery within a supremely lyrical setting.

Perhaps it is an inherent problem with the performance of chamber music in a space the size of Symphony Hall: if you play too softly not all of the audience can hear, and if you play too loudly you sacrifice tone and expression. The pianist Rohan De Silva managed to inject into the softer passages an intensity that made them carry throughout the auditorium, but Perlman's performance-and this is possibly the only criticism that can be made about it-at times lacked the dynamic variation that would be allowed by playing in a smaller room.

The second piece, though, Faure's "Sonata in A Major for Violin and Piano, Opus 13," displayed an intensity of feeling based firmly in knowledge of the music being played, which gave it an appeal only matched by the crowd-pleasing Heifetz Transcriptions at the end of the program. This was the most substantial piece in the recital, a formal four-movement sonata, and an illustration of Faure at his intimate best.

The second half of the concert opened with a moment characteristic of the whole performance; in the opening measures of the second movement of Strauss' three-movement "Sonata in E-flat Major for Violin and Piano, Opus 18," Perlman turned to the audience and raised his eyebrows expressively whilst playing the most beautiful melody-that subliminal expression on his face informed the feeling for the whole piece.

The concert ended with a series of transcriptions by Heifetz of some famous pieces, the highlights being the sprightly and light-hearted (yet extremely technical) "Rondo in E-flat Major" by Hummel, the moving spiritual "Deep River," and the audience's favourite, "It Ain't Necessarily So" from Gershwin's Porgy and Bess.

The recital was an overwhelmingly brilliant performance. From the lyricism and beauty of musical line of the Faure to the technical brilliance of the Transcriptions, Perlman demonstrated his mastery of the violin and his deep understanding of the music he plays.

ITZHAK PERLMAN

at

Symphony Hall

November 12

at

Symphony Hall

November 12

Want to keep up with breaking news? Subscribe to our email newsletter.

Tags