A kind of total security moved onto the scene in the second half of Henry Spinelli's piano recital in the Kennedy Center Concert Hall on Saturday afternoon.
The Pittsburgh pianist opened the second half with two episodes from the "Twenty Regards of the Infant Jesus" by Messiaen. In these the range of dynamics and color he produced was a remarkable display of complete control of keyboards and pedals. He also found the key for unlocking Messiasen's abstruse but highly pianistic writing. The result was convincing.
The B-Flat Nocturne by Faure that followed was beautifully unfolded, with the repetitions of its lyrical theme given poetry.
For a blockbuster closing, Spinelli played the "Hawthorne" movement from the Concord Sonata by Ives. Here again he found the clue to the myriad, shifting moods and styles that fall over each other in the cyclonic music. As he finished the Ives and rose to acknowledge the applause, the pianist shook his head as if to suggest that the risks he had just taken had not been entirely conquered. They rarely are in this work, but it was a notable performance.
In the first half of the concert, two Schubert Impromptus and the A Major Sonata were strangley unsettled most of the time, except for the scherzo of the sonata.