If there's any truth to the truism that every dramatic actor longs to do comedy, then perhaps it can be said that every orchestra member secretly wants to play chamber music. In the case of cellist David Hardy and pianist Lambert Orkis, chamber music concerts are more than just an occasional adjunct to their work with the National Symphony; they perform widely and well around town in numerous settings confined to no single musical style or period.
Saturday night at the Dumbarton United Methodist Church, Hardy and Orkis established a perfect camaraderie in pieces by Beethoven, Debussy and Rachmaninoff. They carefully addressed the tender musings and jolting stop-and-start motion of the Beethoven C Major Cello Sonata. Hardy was a picture of grace and power amid Orkis' fluid accompaniment throughout the Debussy D Minor Sonata. The expansive Rachmaninoff G Minor Sonata, which has considerably more space for the piano, had a vitality and sense of proportion, especially in the songlike third movement.
Hardy displayed the solo cello's limitless expressive possibilities in Henri Dutilleux's "3 Strophes sur le nom de Sacher," which uses fierce double stops and percussive bowing with a near-flamenco flavor. The audience reception, consistently warm to match the level of play, enticed Hardy and Orkis back for three encores, including a fine blues prelude by Gershwin.