Duo Leroy-Moubarak at National Gallery of Art

Courtesy of the National Gallery of Art - \Anthony Leroy and Sandra Moubarak.

The Duo Leroy-Moubarak, a cello/piano couple, played as if they were married, which they are. They exhibited world-class musicianship and original, detailed ideas in a short program of Debussy, Saint-Saens and Franck at the National Gallery on Wednesday.

Cellist Anthony Leroy is immensely gifted; his unerring intonation and fastidious technique allow him to connect notes in long, logical phrases. One might sometimes wish for a bit more expressive self-indulgence in some of the more luscious passages, but his Gallic reserve suited the music well, particularly the Debussy Sonata. Pianist Sandra Moubarak doesn’t always achieve ideal clarity — she can sound a little flustered in the hardest spots and sometimes plays too loud for the cello — but the artistic communication between the two more than makes up for it. Their performances were clearly worked out with the utmost care over many rehearsals; I’ve seldom heard the quicksilver mood changes in the Debussy brought out with such natural unanimity.

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In the Franck Sonata, Leroy nailed one big shift after another, at the fullest volume, evoking spontaneous applause after the second movement. Earlier, the “Romance” from the Saint-Saens Sonata No. 2 (they played only the one movement) was delivered with refinement and the same commitment as the two much-greater works that surrounded it.

These excellent young artists belong in higher echelons of the profession, and one hopes to hear them again soon.


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