When two of the world's greatest violinists get together for an afternoon of music-making, it doesn't much matter what they play, it's bound to be terrific. Clearly a lot of other people were of the same opinion, for they filled the stage seats and all available standing room for yesterday's concert by Itzhak Perlman and Pinchas Zuckerman at the Kennedy Center Concert Hall.
The program was definitely a mixed bag of splendor and schlock, but that didn't really matter because the duo lavished as much care and artistry on the one as on the other.
The two super sentimental entries, a G Minor Duo by De Beriot and a four-movement suite by Moszkowski found the two pouring out their hearts head-to-head and bow-to-bow with unabashed fervor. The music got a much better performance than its mediocrity deserved and everyone seemed to have a good time in the process.
The loveliest moments of the afternoon came at the beginning in the Bach C Major Sonata where each violinist tried to outdo the other in the smoothness of his legato and the glow of his tone. Pianist Samuel Sanders accompanied stylishly.
The Mozart B Flat Major Duo, with Zuckerman playing the viola, had a companionable graciousness. This is not really vintage Mozart, but it has lovely moments and these the pair made the most of.
Eight of Bartok's delightful Duos gave a touch of lightness and humor to the program, augmented immeasurably by the wholehearted involvement of each artist.