Charles Libove and Nina Lugovoy, who are husband and wife and an uncommonly well-matched violin and piano duo, played a marvelously nonstandard program at the Phillips Collection yesterday. The music, all written in this century but of a decidedly romantic persuasion, was approached with a nice mixture of competence, common sense and restraint.
Libove does not give an impression of stunning virtuosity. He is not particularly outgoing as a performer, nor does his playing seem at all cerebral, but his music-making has a lovely relaxed and natural air.
Lugovoy's pianism has the sort of clarity and rhythmic inevitability that is the hallmark of the true artist. She collaborated with a full awareness of the independence of her role.
Together they gave thoughtful and touching readings of Reger's "Suite (in alten Styl)", Bartok's Sonata No. 2, a Riegger Sonatina and Frank Bridge's splendid sonata written in 1932.
Midway through the Bridge sonata, Libove stopped and struck a blow for concert manners by asking a member of the audience who had coughed, sneezed and snuffled through the first part of the piece to leave. The concert and the manners lesson were a fine opening for the Phillips musical season.