In spite of bad weather, an overheated hall, spongy acoustics and an unevenly voiced piano, Mozart still was an easy winner at yesterday's midday recital at the World Bank Auditorium, with the sensitive, musicianly help of pianist Jeffrey Chappell.
The program, the fourth in the "Mozart at the World Bank" series, was for solo piano works: three fantasies, K. 394, 396 and 397, and the Sonata in F, K. 332. None of these is a major work of the master. Nevertheless, they offer clean, uncluttered insight into Mozart's musical thinking: his concern with joining contrasting ideas, and his very modern views of tempo as different from meter, and of dynamics as form.
Chappell is the ideal guide for such exploration, being willing to do the search and completely equipped as a musician. He is a thoughtful, if not dynamic, pianist, and he does not scare off the listener. Rather, he shares his thoughts so clearly and intelligently that listening to Chappell and Mozart becomes a happy visit with good friends, the right way to spend a downtown lunch hour.
This was the kind of program that inspires meditation, not conversation. Chappell played the fugue of K. 394, communicating his own delight and surprise in its unfolding. He investigated the slow movement of the sonata and, with us, delighted in its beauty.
The bank deserves our thanks. But perhaps the series should be spread out over more of the year instead of being concentrated in a single week. There is also the chance that there might be music even beyond Mozart.