Something called the Cleveland Duo made for a delightful afternoon at the Phillips Collection yesterday. Stephen Warner and Carolyn Gadiel Warner were obviously in love with their music, and the love and excitement were passed on with the freshness of a kiss.
Both are violinists with the Cleveland Orchestra. She plays the piano at least as persuasively as the violin. The concert began with Beethoven's "Spring" Sonata in F Major, in a mannered reading full of knowing smiles. His approach was romantic and expansive, even including occasional portamenti and pauses for air within the phrases. If pitch accuracy was not foremost in his mind, poetry was.
Her violin had many of the same virtues and sported a richer tone. Both could suggest subtle dynamic shadings and were never less than convincing. They managed to sound both elegant and giddy in Haydn's Duet in D Major, Op. 102. And in three duos by Bartok, his textures were terse, hers smooth, and the blend in "Sadness" made for a prolonged and satisfying climax.
They closed with the Franck Sonata in A Major. Her piano overflowed with spontaneity and romance, always divining the violin's capricious course. The pensive third movement was immediate yet ineffable, with the density of a dream. The concert will be broadcast on WGMS next Sunday at 10 p.m..