Pianist Victor Derevianko has been performing in public for more than a quarter-century, first in the Soviet Union, where he was born, then in the West since he emigrated to Israel in 1974. He has played elsewhere in the United States, as a soloist and as a chamber musician, but last night at the German Embassy he made his Washington debut.
It was long overdue, judging by the granitic solidity he brought to the Sonata No. 3 in F minor of Brahms and even more by the variety of color, the legato phrasing, the wealth of dynamic nuance and dramatic intensity he brought to the seven numbers of Liszt's second "Anne'es de Pe`lerinage."
It might have been prudent to open the program with something lighter than Brahms -- even a relatively young, impetuous Brahms. But a bit of squareness in phrasing and lack of dynamic variety does the music little harm -- may even be inherent in its structures. And the monochromatic quality of Brahms gave added value, by contrast, to the dancing lights and shadows of Liszt: big, bell-like chords; dazzling bursts of energy; obsessive brooding and monumental arches of sound.
Any 10 minutes of the Liszt was worth half an hour of the Brahms, but the two composers set one another off superbly, and Derevianko had all the musicianship and technique required to do justice to both.