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Music Reviews : Frederick Moyer at Ambassador

February 05, 1988|DONNA PERLMUTTER

When a young, unknown pianist plays a wide-ranging recital of familiar music it is usually with the idea of establishing himself as the compleat musician. Frederick Moyer, who appeared at Ambassador Auditorium, Pasadena, on Monday, gave such evidence.

But, as sometimes happens at the most revealing solo performances, Moyer managed to get across his uniquely personal view, which is one of gentleness and repose. Wherever appropriate, he let his inclination take over. Where not appropriate, he held it in abeyance.

What this means is that he hasn't the least interest in grandstanding or in projecting the extrovert's flash. As a flawless technician, however, one who can grab up the densest handful of notes and deliver them in perfectly lucid array, he commands attention.

Moreover, his sensitive touch and purposeful interpretation also keep the listener engaged. Thus, in Mozart's D-major Sonata, K. 311, the line was held taut, but woven around it was a sense of deep affection, and within a single phrase lay gradations of dynamic expressivity.

Despite how he played Chopin's G-minor Ballade--very beautifully and lovingly--the pianist did not work up a great deal of heat for its inexorable climaxes. And Ravel's "Valses nobles et sentimentales" went partly by the boards because he lost the rhythmic pulse in the slow sections and did not suggest much sensuality.

But Stravinsky's "Petrushka" Suite found Moyer in possession of all his remarkable gifts. Fleet, fluent fingers served the perky percussion uncommonly well and his extra increments of pathos conjured up the sad puppet.

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