During her appearance at the Terrace Theater Saturday afternoon, pianist Israela Margalit seemed determined to prove that her fingers can withstand cruel and unusual punishment and still fly about the keyboard with the greatest of ease.For the most part, she proved that point rather conclusively, charging through the fierce demands of Prokofiev's Sixth Sonata as though it were a beginner's exercise, and following without hesitation that awesome maze known as Bach's Chromatic Fantasy and Fugue in D Minor.
If Margalit's technique made the biggest impression, there were numerous other traits to be admired in her playing. The almost sensuous way she handled the winding down of the Fantasy, for example, may not have been authentically baroque, but it was a magical moment nonetheless. Similar in character was her delivery of the languid waltz in the third movement of the Prokofiev, a bit of introspection that made a welcome contrast to her slightly more detached approach to the piece.
Schumann's "Davidsblundertanze" gave the pianist a much better chance to display her personal character, especially in the song-like sections, which were marked by exceptionally graceful phrasing. There was an occasional loss of technical command in the most virtuosic passages, but the net effect remained one of solid pianism.