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MUSIC REVIEWS : Tetzlaff, Andsnes Play Recital at Pavilion

November 17, 1994|CHRIS PASLES

In what continues to signal a fascinating if disturbing trend, two more young musicians of impressive talent related to music of this century with an intuitive empathy that was lacking when they tackled earlier standard repertory.

Violinist Christian Tetzlaff and pianist Leif Ove Andsnes, appearing as part of the Philharmonic Celebrity Recital series on Tuesday in the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, found Debussy and Nielsen especially congenial, even if both composers were represented by works that date from before 1920.

The recital duo even dazzled in the last two movements of Ravel's Sonata, completed about two years before the great stock market crash of 1929, as their encores.

But Mozart in their hands emerged as a superficial chase, and the light and dark romantic charms of Schubert transpired within a severely limited compass.

Nielsen's Sonata No. 2, the least familiar piece on the program, however, blossomed. In three movements, the work progresses from withdrawn pastoral reflections interrupted by agitated outbursts, through declamatory struggles finally tamed, to a re-entry into the social contract, via a waltz tune.

Still, the piece ends in surprisingly nervous disquiet.

Both musicians made sense of all the ways and byways.

Tetzlaff combined lyricism with golden if lean tone, and ranged in dynamic from breathlessness to muscular exclamation. Andsnes played with a seamlessly even and deft touch at all dynamic levels and literally across the board.

Debussy's Sonata No. 3 also found them recreative and reactive to the music, finding opportunities to explore color and dynamics and provide structural cohesion.

In earlier music, however, Andsnes tended to spin out phrases with little internal inflection, change in color or shift in character. He was a reticent partner in Schubert's Rondo in B minor (Rondo Brillant), D. 895, where Tetzlaff, as usual, was the warmer if self-circumscribed player.

Worse, Mozart's Sonata in E-flat, K. 380, which opened the recital, emerged as a porcelain exercise in velocity, alleviated by an andante that insufficiently breathed.

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