Reprinted from yesterday's late editions.
It takes power and speed to play the piano music of Liszt, Scriabin and Rachmaninoff, and these Honduran pianist Luis Alberto Bernhard had plenty of. But it takes expansiveness and involvement to communicate the music, and these were both missing in his performance at the Plan American Union Wednesday night.
The young pianist has a lot of technique for which he chose a very demanding program. He is able to project melodies clearly out of the thickest textures and to draw thunder out of the piano, but these melodies sound unrelentingly aggressive, and the thunder is mitigated by the weakening effect of tempos that had a tendencey to be rushed at climaxes.
His program opened with the Haydn Sonata in E flat No. 52 opus 32, which clearly was not his cup of tea, and then progressed to the Liszt "Funeraille," Debussy's "L'Isle Joyeuse," the Scriabin Sonata No. 9, two pieces by Villa-Lobos, the Rachmaninoff B Minor Prelude Opus 32 No. 10, and finally the Chopin "Ballade" No. 1 in G Minor, a program, if there ever was one, for an athletic pianist.
The Villa-Lobos and the Chopin received the most thoughtful treatment and made the greatest impact.