Since winning the Queen Elizabeth Competition in Belgium nine years ago, violinist Miriam Fried has seen her career and her reputation develop impressively. On stage, her confidence and her determination are immediately evident. She digs into the strings of her instrument with gusto and draws from them not only powerful sounds but also lovely ones.
She replaced Nathaniel Rosen at the Kennedy Center on Saturday in a recital that was puzzlingly uneven. On the one hand there were the marvelous breadth of line and the luscious tone. The Brahms A Major Sonata glowed in the light of her legato and the other by products of her splendid bow arm.
On the other, however, there was the dreadful intonation of the three Paganini Caprices. they sounded like the work of an overzealous student. There were the humdrum reading of the Smetana "Aus der Heimat" and the stangely slow, almost halting Siciliana from the Bach unaccompanied Sonata No. 1.
How could anyone play Brahms so beautifully and these others so badly?
In the opening sonata by Biber, which in its virtuosic display foreshadows Paganini, her playing was accurate and absolutely clear and the Stravinsky "Duo Concertant" was beautifully paced.
Luis Batlle at the piano was a model of neat, precise accompaniment. This made theirs a reliable, if not always a complementary, partnership.