Two young Englishmen whose combined ages might total around 45 triumphed in their Washington debut recital yesterday afternoon in the Kennedy Center's Terrace Theater.

Cellist Colin Carr, the 1979 winner of the Young Concert Artists Competition, assisted by superb playing from pianist Francis Grier, opened the recital with the A Major Sonatas by Beethoven and Franck. Carr closed it with the tremendous challenges of the solo sonata by Kodaly.

It is a noteworthy coincidence that the Franck sonata, originially written for violin and piano, was heard in that version a week ago in the Kennedy Center, then on Saturday night in the flute transcription prior to yesterday's performance on the cello.

The pianist has a different responsibility in this music, for reasons of registers and phrasing, depending on the instrument he is supporting. Grier, who is an outstanding musician, solved every issue of balance and dynamics admirably, as he had earlier in Beethoven.

Carr is equal in musicianship, finding ideal tempos in the Beethoven, offering shading that was stylistically right and tone of elegance and beauty. The finale of the Beethoven was full of fire, as was the big fugal Franck closing. No wonder the audience shouted its approval.