Last night at the Terrace Theater David Perry took his rightful place as one of the finest guitarists this country has produced. Alone on stage for William Walton's "Five Bagatelles," he showed a gift for detailed articulation and a feeling for long lines that are too rare on the concert stage.He can arch a phrase like a Fokine dancer, reveling in the echoes of Lecuona of the alla Cubuna section and making the most of the nervous tapping in the Lento.
He was not alone the rest of the evening, which bore the somber title "David Perry and Associates" and included violinist Jody Gatwood and six other musicians. Gatwood played the trashy excesses of Ravel's "Tzigane" with elan and a straight face, his technique as dazzling as we have come to expect. He and Perry blended nicely with violinist Hyum Woo Kim, violist Malcolm Russ and cellist Glen Garlick for the Guitar Quintet by Castelnuovo-Tedesco. It is an attractive, self-consciously Schubertian piece that whispers new life into several tired effects. And in its nostaligic Scherzo in the shape of a tango, there was true ensemble playing and excitement.
With David Perry's considerable talent for the guitar, his branching out into vocal music may be commented but not encouraged. He sang Vaughan Williams' "On Wenlock Edge," and while all the musicality and craft that make his guitar playing so remarkable were also present in his singing, the instrument was not quite so worthy. In this gorgeous setting of Housman's "A Shropshire Lad," Perry had three or four lovely notes in his middle voice, with an early passagio leading to a thin, Rossinian top. There was also an unattractive tightness when the sound was pushed, and the overall effect was one of gentle strain instead of musical wonder.
The long program opened with the Gran Sonata Op. 85 by Giuliani, where Perry's precious petit pointe with a musical wonder indeed.