Guity Adjoodani covered tremendous territory -- from Bach to Scott Joplin -- in her recital at the Kennedy Center's Terrace Theater yesterday afternoon and sparkled through most of that varied terrain.
Building the opening to Chopin's Ballade in G Minor, Op. 23, with a deliberative tempo, the pianist subtly drew the melodic line toward the climactic passages. Her performance was taut throughout, with attention to balance and dynamic range.
If the later parts of that piece weren't always clearly defined, Adjoodani made up for it in Beethoven's 32 Variations in C Minor, G. 191. Her mastery was so complete on these virtuoso showcases that one longs to hear her on the more substantial "Diabelli" Variations.
Charles Griffes' Sonata in F followed, receiving the monumental performance it deserved. Pedaling was impressive in the slow movement, where eastern-tinged melodies hang, transparent, before a furious "allegro vivace." Adjoodani developed divergent, fragmented lines with total clarity, an extraordinary feat in such a tempestuous piece. Adjoodani sparkled in the opening of Bach's "Italian" Concerto and the andante that followed, but at times in the presto movement she seemed on the verge of outracing herself.
Balancing sweeping melodies and wry asides in "Rhapsody in Blue," Adjoodani maintained the illusion of spontaneity so essential to Gershwin's jazzy classic. Edward Stewart and Janice Barringer performed Stewart's choreography of Felix Blumenfeld's "Etude for the Left Hand." They also danced for the final encore, Joplin's "Maple Leaf Rag."