Taking chances

By LLOYD SCHWARTZ  |  November 7, 2006

“Vaseline!” a musician friend whispered to me as we inched up the Jordan Hall aisle at the intermission of the sold-out Bank of America Celebrity Series Brahms sonata recital by violinist Gidon Kremer and pianist Krystian Zimerman. The first two sonatas were soothingly but soporifically beautiful, with no variety of color and little of Brahms’s intricate give-and-take interaction. The longer, rougher-textured Third Sonata was more vigorous but not much more compelling. But in their first encore, Ysaÿe’s Rêve d’enfant, Kremer played with a mysteriously disembodied tone that was a refreshing change of pace, and in a teasing little Mozart sonata movement, they conveyed their delight in playing with each other, not merely playing at the same time.

This was a hot ticket item, so cheers to the Celebrity Series for keeping the concert in an appropriate venue for chamber music.

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