Reprinted from yesterday's late editions.
Lorin Maazel opened Tuesday night's Brahms concert in the Kennedy Center leading the Cleveland Orchestra in the second of the composer's serenades, Opus 16 in A Major.
Scored without brass or violins, th e serenade has a somewhat somber sound but its sonorities are brightened by varying rhythms. The work is a novelty, one of two compositions in the entire Brahms orchestral catalog that can be called that.
Every note of the piece is unmistakable Brahms, but not vintage. Mixed in with its charming pages is a number where the composer dawdles or looks for something he has trouble finding. It is quite reasonable that the serenades come along only infrequently. The playing was suitably languid.
There was no lack of force in the vast B Flat Piano Concerto that came after intermission. Misha Dichter was the soloist in a performance that ripped along on the surface of things, gathering to itself such undersirable laurels as glib, superficial and perfunctory before it was over. Dynamics were frequently ignored or worse, reversed, as they have been far too often in this week's Brahms.
Dicther is a pianist with no technicial problems. Passages in the concerto that used to haunt pianists in the past hold no terrors for him. He plays beautiful piano, but not much Brahms. What's the rush? The art of holding back may be more difficult than the ability to race ahead, but it is far more satisfying, which the concerto seldom was. To Stephen Gerber, however, real appreciation for his playing of the famous cello solo.