In her recital at the Terrace Theater on Saturday afternoon, pianist Cecile Licad fulfilled the high expectations raised in her recent appearances with the National Symphony Orchestra. As the first artist to win the Leventritt Award in 10 years, she was known to be of distinctive quality.
For her first solo recital in Washington, the young Philippine pianist exercised patrician taste in three widely differing styles. Her approach to the Ravel Sonatine was the most introspective in memory, wrapped in hushed poetry enhanced by pauses that let the music breathe.
To the towering C-Minor Fantasy and Sonata of Mozart, Licad brought maturity belying her 20 years, weighting its brooding measures with somber reflection that indicated her understanding of its deepest implications. When it was time for pure lyrical song, her tone and touch instantly shifted to appropriate shades. In what is arguably the greatest Mozart solo keyboard writing, Licad showed herself a master already arrived.
Following the intermission were no less than the 12 etudes of Chopin's Opus 10. One after another they proceeded in triumph. Technical hazards were surmounted with ease as Licad overcame every intricacy of rhythm, melody and articulation. What is left for the young musician? Only to grow and expand in the ways she is already traversing.
At the close of the concert Licad was presented with the Philippine Heritage Foundation Medallion of Honor.