Jeffrey Chappell filled Takoma Park's Sligo Church with enchanting sounds last night in a predominantly 19th-century piano recital.
Felix Mendelssohn's "Songs Without Words" is truly just that, as Chappell proved with a clarity of melodic line that separated the intended lyric from accompaniment in a most remarkable way. In relation to "singing," the selections moved with an airy grace, as if following a beautiful voice.
"Four Piano Pieces," Op. 119, by Brahms, containing three intermezzos and ending with one rhapsody movement, flowed almost continually until the final emotional outburst in E-flat major, portraying a truly romantic and well-executed barrage of emotional juxtaposition.
The recitalist's own work, titled "Fantasy" (1981), contained four movements, with fugues curiously appearing as the first and third. The first one whispered mysteriously, with each overlapping theme swelling slightly and ending even more delicately. Overall emotional content originated with a romantic and sometimes Hindemithian vocabulary, but when the intensity built, so did the use of chromatic sounds.
Impromptus by Faure' and a Chopin ballade, the G major, Op. 23, a real crowd-pleaser, ended the program. The Faure' pieces were all very subtle selections, but well played with a serious touch of restraint.