Saturday night in the Terrace Theater, the Theater Chamber Players of Kennedy Center paid a left-handed compliment to Bach. Literally so, since Leon Fleisher played Brahms' rarely heard transcription for piano, left hand, of Bach's Chaconne, originally written for solo violin. Mistakes and all (and there were a few), Fleisher gave a powerful reading of this tribute from one master to another. He reminded us that even when confined to music for the left hand, he is a pianist in the great tradition.
The rest of the program was left-handed in a more pejorative sense. Originally called "Nach Bach 301," it was not totally "after" Bach chronologically or stylistically. A harpsichord fantasy by George Rochberg contained bits of genuine Bach trapped in an atonal spider web. The aria "Schlage doch," once attributed to Bach, is now blamed on one of his predecessors at Leipzig. Jeannette Walters was more convincing as an alto than as a soprano.
Manuel de Falla's Harpsichord Concerto looks to Ravel and Couperin for its inspiration and would have made more of an effect if harpsichordist Donald Sutherland had been moved downstage.
The one truly "nach Bach" work was Hindemith's neo-Baroque sonata for solo viola, op. 25. Masao Kawasaki played it with great tonal beauty, but smoothed the rough edges Hindemith had built into the score. -- David Johnson