When Cesar Franck wrote Sonata in A for violin piano in 1886, the aged composer succeeded in synthesizing a lifetime of musical growth. The lines between romanticism and impresionism disappeared, and the fluid tonalities and harmonic surprises of thesonata created a minor masterpiece. Its arrangement for cello and piano has not always been thought the wisest, but no better case for this version could bemade than the performance Charles Curtis and Earl Wild gave at Wolf Trap yesterday afternoon.
It takes no great seer to predict that Charles Curtis will soon be a household name for music-lovers. This very young cellist already plays with a commitment and maturity beyond his years, and with a distinctive, warm tone that truly lets his instrument sing. The stringent demands of the Franck sonata appeared easy, natural in his hands. From the insistent chords in the ninth that punctuate the piece to the canonic finale, the work emerged as beautifully romantic impressions on a heroic memory.
The afternoon also featured works by Prokefiev and Brahms. Whether by political accident or aesthetic conviction. Porkofiev refused to give up the romantic sensibility, and his Cello Sonata in C is full of those curiously innocent and melancholy melodies that distinguish so much Soviet music. Wild and Curtis matched the composer's musical candor with unassuming, rhythmically assured playing that caressed the audience like a cool breeze.
Brahms' Sonata No.1 in E minor received an almost routine reading, with players and audience alike adjusting to the humid weather. The poor cellist had both his brow and his bow covered with sweat, and pitch occasionally became approximate. But the afternoon was quite a success: Earl Wild was a sensitive and generous musical partner for Charles Curtis and together the weather was forgotten and music was wellserved.