Sylvia Rosenberg, a distinguished American violinist little known here because she has lived for years in Europe, gave a satisfying recital at the Phillips Collection yesterday.
And because the piano part was of equal status in most of the works, Seymour Bernstein's splendid playing should be equally noted.
Both were at their best in the most familiar work, Beethoven's G major Sonata, Op. 96. This composition is just about as relaxed and glowing a piece as the normally tense and questing composer ever wrote. It ambles along in an almost Mozartean spirit, though it is longer and more complex than the Mozart violin sonatas. Both players, with their warm sounds and their subtle, gracious phrasing, caught this spirit beautifully.
Another highlight was a 20th-century rarity, an unaccompanied violin sonata by Paul Hindemith. This striking work has five movements. It begins in a dashing, virtuosic manner and has some expressive surprises as it develops -- especially a muted, perpetual motion movement that treads the thin line between the whimsical and the nightmarish. It was impressively executed.
At the end came an unfamiliar work by Karol Szymanowski, "La fontaine d'Are'thuse," the French title of which betrays a heavy dose of Debussy, particularly in the piano part. The violin's melody is more Slavic, with exotic harmonies and sonorities; an attractive work, though not a momentous one.
Stravinsky's captivating "Suite Italienne" came first and did not show the artists at their best.