The New Year did not begin with much of a musical bang on Sunday afternoon at Van Nuys Junior High School. Cellist Peter Rejto offered a Community Concert recital characterized largely by cautious respectability.
Put it down to holiday surfeit, perhaps, or the acoustically and atmospherically stuffy auditorium. Whatever the causes, the results were curiously inert.
The level of compelling passion and musically pointed drama in the stock program did rise throughout, though it was a case of too little, too late. After intermission, Rejto brought a welcome freedom to Beethoven's Sonata in G minor, Opus 5, No. 2. His account of Ginastera's "Pampeana" No. 2 stressed its brooding aspect rather than the macho athleticism, but sounded nonetheless committed and convincing.
The cellist, who teaches at Cal State Northridge, began with an aloof, politely embellished performance of a Boccherini Sonata in A. From there he essayed Schumann's Opus 73 "Phantasiestucke" with everything but fantasy. He proved impressively secure in Shostakovich's demanding multifaceted Sonata, without making persuasive structural connections.