Christodoulos Giorgiades made some beautiful music last night at the National Gallery of Art, and some that was less beautiful than it could easily have been.
As he opened his piano recital with the Brahms Waltzes of Opus 39, the elements of charm and grace seemed lacking. They soon appeared, however, in the less aggressive episodes. All the young pianist needs to do to make the set uniformly attractive is to tone down the vehemence with which he attacks the more forthright waltzes. For they, too, should still have the aura of vienna.
That aura is harder to project in the A Minor Sonata of Schubert that followed. In the final movement it is very difficult not to seem to pound. But that is what is never permissable in Schubert. Again, Giorgiades made fine music in more lyrical passages and turned hard and unyielding in more insistent passages.
This entire problem disappeared in the second half of the concert when Giorgiades played three Debussy preludes with style, elegance and, in Minstrels, with light bitting wit. Only a wayward ritard was really out of place.
As for the Prokofiev Seventh Sonata, its percussive pages were right up the pianist's alley, while he handled the incredible banality of the slow movement as decently as can be done.