The Kontarsky brothers, Aloys and Alfons, brought the Library of Congress last night what should have been a fascinating evening of music for two pianos. As it turned out, however, the results were less rewarding than the printed program suggested.
This was due in part to the somewhat percussive style characteristic of the players, which suited neither the Schubert duo with which they began, nor the extremely romantic manner of the gorgeous Liszt concerto with which they closed the evening.
The Schubert duo, which has its problems for any interpreters, tends to be repetitive. Unless it is handled with great subtlety, it can be not a little bombastic. It came off as something of a bore, thanks to the Kontarskys' willingness to beat a dead horse long after its demise.
The Liszt concerto is one of the grand creations of an era that thrives on overperfumed and overdrawn emotion. It is a glorious example of excess carried to extreme. It must have affection and tenderness in its performance, and these are qualities in which the Kontarskys do not deal. Their playing was sterile and lacking in the grand manner of the epoch involved.
Gyorgy Ligeti's self-indulgence, in a work called "Movements, Self-Portrait, Motion," can be forgotten as a feeble imitation of great men such as Chopin, and an excessive fondness for vapid repetition of meaningless figureations. It is nonmusic that should not be dumped on defenseless listeners.