Nineteen-year-old violinist Jennifer Gordon has been a kind of favored daughter of the National Symphony Orchestra.
Great things are expected of her, and some of them surfaced at her recital Sunday afternoon at the Phillips Collection's final recital of the current season.
However, her opening move was not propitious: an outdated performance of a Handel sonata, the sort of obeisance to the baroque that Heifetz and Kreisler used to make at the opening of a recital.
Handel, played at full vibrato on a brilliant modern violin without benefit of harpsichord or continuo, just doesn't wash any longer.
Lost ground was recouped in the Brahms G Major Sonata, Op. 78. Gordon has a full, burnished tone; the beautiful, world-weary tune that opens the sonata came out sounding as if it were being played on a viola.
All three movements were taken rather slowly, but not out of caution. The young artist has a genuinely original and convincing view of this work. This was an almost painfully introverted but haunting performance.
Virtuosity surfaced in the second half of the program, with the "Nigun" movement from Bloch's Baal Shem, full of Hasidic frenzy, and Saint-Sae ns' Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso, to which Gordon brought a feminine seductiveness rather than the usual macho bravado. The Saint-Sae ns was not letter-perfect, and in this showy repertoire even a few flubs have a fatal tendency to bring all the good work down with them.
But on the basis of the Brahms, the Bloch and the controlled legato bowing in Rachmaninoff's "Vocalise" Jennifer Gordon seems destined for a distinguished career. Her partner, pianist Andrew DeGrado, was excellent though a bit self-effacing.