An imaginative and sensitive pianist, Cipa Dichter, made her Washington debut last night at the Kennedy Center's Terrace Theater. If the name rings a bell, it may be because her husband, who joined her in the two-piano program, is Misha Dichter, the celebrated virtuoso.
Cipa Dichter turns out to be very much, as they say, an artist in her own right. From the very beginning, in the captivating Mozart Sonata for Two Pianos, K. 448, she shaped soft cantabile melodies in the upper registers with a mixture of finesse and resonance that is rare. Also she can bring plenty of weight to big chords or octave runs.
One came away with a sense of how deftly they worked together as chamber players. One astute observer who first heard them play a few years ago in Aspen noted that there was less tension in the performing now than then.
The two-piano repertory is full of gold that is unmined simply because it is so hard to get together. Among the rarities: Infante's sweeping "Tres danzas andaluzas," Schumann's "Six Etudes in Canon Form" arranged by Debussy, and Bernstein's gutsy arrangement of Copland's "El Salo'n Mexico" (played with particular dash). Liszt's "Concerto Pathe'tique," had some windy moments, but the central slow section had some of the pathos implied by the title. Mozart's "Fantasy for a Clockwork Barrel Organ," K. 608, was not from his top drawer, though some of the playing here was brilliant.