Reprinted from yesterday's late editions.
It is unlikely, considering the way musical life is organized in our time, that I shall ever again hear the Piano Sonata of Kenton Coe. I can live with the fact, but it is a little sad, for this is an interesting, inventive piece of music, basically conservative in idiom but with a distinctive statement of its own. The Sonata was composed in 1960 and had to wait for its U.S. premiere until Sunday night, when pianist Kenneth Huber played it at the National Gallery.
For the record, Huber played it very well, bringing out the drama in its first movement, a wayward penslyeness in the slow movement and a brilliance that was at times almost savage in the finale. He also did well technically with three pieces from "Iberia" by Albeniz and with three slight, charming sonatas by Soler before intermission.
The acoustics were so bothersome Sunday night that I left at intermission and listened to the final item (the "Handel Variations" od Brahms) on my car radio. It was a good tradeoff - less bass presence but much more clarity, and I think the fine performance sounded better than it would have on the sport.