Cellist Mary Fraley brought considerable flair to her first appearance in the Phillips Collection recital series yesterday afternoon. Though her realizations may have fallen short of her vision, she conveyed a lively sense of enjoyment of the works she presented, which ranged from Schumann and Faure' through Chopin and Bach.
Certainly, her manner of finishing off a phrase with a circular wrist movement more commonly associated with pianists added a fascinating visual element to the program. And there were intriguing flourishes of the bow at dashing musical moments, particularly in the Chopin and Paganini selections. For all that, however, Fraley's basic approach remained on an intimate scale and her sound lacked the necessary power and brilliance to achieve forceful interpretations.
Her tone throughout the program possessed a veiled quality, which may have been simply the character of the 17th-century Amati instrument she was playing. It is possible, however, that if her pitch were precisely on center, her sound might gain a more cutting edge.
Fraley showed a nice feeling for the flow of Schumann's lines in the opening "Phantasiestuck, Op. 73," but Bach's D Minor Suite for solo cello pointed up her inability to establish a solid rhythmic structure for her emotional responses.
Pianist Dorothy Fine Siegert provided consistently sensitive accompaniment.