The virtuosity of youth was in ample evidence Saturday night at the University of Maryland Laureate Recital.
Barely in her twenties, the diminutive Japanese violinist Kyoko Takezawa demonstrated the tone, fire and assurance of an experienced, top-rank player. Pianist Jeffrey Biegel, who shared the stage, is only a few years older and was equally impressive with his robust and powerful technique.
Biegel's Liszt was terrific, with machine-gun octaves in the Hungarian Rhapsody No. 12 and lightning-fast thirds in the fifth "Transcendental Etude." Even when playing softly, as in the "Sonetto del Petrarca" No. 104 or the Rachmaninoff G Major Prelude, Op. 32, No. 5, he communicated restrained tension rather than ease.
Takezawa's studied intensity gave much the same feeling. The devilish double stops of Ysaye's solo Sonata, Op. 27, No. 4, were strong and perfectly in tune and the haunting melodies of Tchaikovsky's "Se're'nade me'lancolique" were carefully and beautifully controlled.
Two chamber works, although technically well played, were less successful. Biegel subordinated his part to the violin in Mozart's E minor sonata, K. 304, reversing the composer's preferred instrumental ordering. And Brahms' D minor sonata sounded a bit thick and emotionally unfocused.
Two charming Viennese waltzes played by Takezawa and a dazzling "Blue Danube" by Biegel provided pleasing encores to this impressive but long (2 1/2-hour) recital.