Touch and temperament are two crucial ingredients for any concert artist. Swiss pianist Dominique Weber, as evidenced at his Washington debut yesterday afternoon at the Kennedy Center Terrace Theater, possesses a masterly light touch and disposition well suited to composers whose reputations rest largely on their works for keyboard.
Winner of the Young Concert Artists International Auditions in 1982, Weber invested J.S. Bach's Partita No. 6 in E Minor with a romantic panache. The intricate contrapuntal melodies of the seven dance movements--particularly in the inventive canon in the closing Vivace--were logically phrased, though his use of rubato occasionally strayed from strict baroque practice.
His interpretation of fellow countryman Frank Martin's Eight Preludes, a piece serial in spirit if not convention, was a technical tour de force. Explosive chords, quickly damped with certain notes ominously sustained, yielded to torrid melodic shards, which in turn blended with soft, parallel dissonances that gradually built in momentum. These preludes are not for the meek of heart. Weber acquitted himself admirably.
Schumann's "Arabeske," Op. 18, and "Kreisleriana," Op. 16, made up the second half of the program. Weber's "Arabeske" was poised, with a touch of youthful caprice. His "Kreisleriana" was thoroughly in keeping with the Schumann esthetic; he conveyed with conviction the explicit emotional schizophrenia represented musically by galloping, fever-pitch themes and wistful, introspective melodies.