From the first notes of the Saturday concert at the Library of Congress by violinist Robert Davidovici and pianist David Korevaar it was evident that this was to be more duel than duo. The effect was exhausting for everyone and very hard on the music.
Each of these performers has eminent qualities. Davidovici is a master technician, able to meet any violinistic challenge. Korevaar has fleet fingers undaunted by difficulties. But the two did not meld. In the opening Mozart Sonata, K. 526, particularly in the outer fast movements, there were too many scrambles, like a game of catch-up. One waited for the Andante, hoping that the two would settle down. The wait was in vain.
The Ives Second Sonata was effective. Certainly it received note-perfect performance, but the folksy humor was missing. The almost random phrases that make Ives truly Ives were grimly driven, one into the other, without a moment of respite. The piece emerged as a test of strength with the piano winning by decibel count.
The Brahms Op. 100 Sonata was the opportunity for musical redemption. There were felt moments, musical efforts by Davidovici to share those wonderful melodies. But the odds and the volume of the piano were too great. Korevaar seemed to lack the patience of the music itself. The final page had no feeling for the wistful last phrases. It simply stopped as if there were little reason to go on.
Davidovici finished the program, playing a partita for solo violin by Hugh Aitken, a well-organized piece demonstrating Davidovici's enormous technical command. To prove his case, he turned for the closing to the Ravel "Tzigane." He left no doubt of his ability. One hopes he turns his attention to the substance of the music.