With a dazzling, two-shirted performance, cellist Charles Curtis stole the show at Wolf Trap yesterday afternoon. Appearing with the Concert Soloists of Wolf Trap, Curtis generated his own incandescence in a heat that encouraged few besides friends and relatives to attend the all-Russian program. His intense interpretation of the Rachmaninoff G Minor Sonata with pianist Earl Wild turned one white shirt into a wet mat before intermission. Shostakovich's Second Piano Trio did the same to another white shirt when Curtis returned with Wild and violinist Lynn Chang for the last half.
Since winning the International Bach Competition in Washington a few years ago, Curtis has grown steadily. Sensitive and full of temperament, he is also developing a fine discipline, as yesterday proved. With pianist Wild, violinist Chang kept his cool, literally and figuratively in an opening sonata by Medtner. His sweetness of temper and graceful style were assets in the work's lyricism, but the finale needed more conviction.
The afternoon closed with a splendid interpretation of the Shostakovich piece, which found Wild once again contributing admirable agility and insight. pCurtis and Wild will present the Concert Soloists' final recital Aug. 10. It should be a triple-shirter.