Electronic music sounds so marvelous in the National Gallery's East Garden Court that it should be heard there often. So when pianist Stewart Gordon programmed two recent works for piano and tape as well as pieces by Brahms, Porter and Rachmaninoff, the news was good. The concert was one fo accomplished variety, with Gordon's clean, firm touch bringing out the best in his cleverly chosen selections.
A humorous set of "Episodes" by Ralph Turek recalled the oscillating rhythms of Kraftwerk, surprising with percussive electronics echoing from all corners. The piano part was less interesting than the tape, but Gordon's serene hands brought glee and depth to the second episode and a feeling of dance to the finale.
Mark Wilson's 1980 "Proteus" was more shallow and less fun. Perhaps if more academic composers listened to popular music they might not keep on inventing the wheel. As it is, "Proteus" is a work of no interest, naively echoing Wendy Carlos, Tomita, Brian Eno and others, too superficial for its thickness.
A stale, pseudo-French sonata by Quincy Porter was almost rescued by Gordon's imprssive performance. His versatility was the audience's gain, as he intepreted three short selections from Brahms' Opus 116 and seven preludes by Rachmaninoff.