A variety of impressionist composers, from Debussy to George Crumb, were featured in a recital by Carla Hubner last night at Mount Vernon College. Hubner selected four of P. Humberto Allende's "Twelve Tonadas." They were charming in a folksy way, and well-played, but nothing in them was particularly exciting.
The first of the unabashedly evocative "Roman Sketches" by Charles Griffes ("White Peacock") meandered a bit, but the others, especially the deliciously mystical and flowing "Nightfall," were compellingly played with a shimmering and sensitive touch.
A selection from George Crumb's "Makrokosmos" was the high point of the recital. From "Primeval Sounds" -- perhaps the heavy thuds of dinosaurs or the falling of lava from ancient volcanos -- to "Crucifixus" with its climactic shout of "Christe," Hubner played with conviction and imagination.
Debussy's Preludes, Book 1, received a mixed performance. Some were terrific, but "Les sons et les parfums tournent dans l'air du soir" was uneven and much too fast, and "Le vent dans la plaine" was too blurred even for impressionistic style.
Hubner kept her composure in the face of some distracting difficulties. The piano had a rather raw sound and, worse, suffered from poorly adjusted dampers. After loud chords some notes would linger distressingly into the following silences.