Ukrainian violinist Oleh Krysa made his U.S. debut nearly three decades ago, but his recital Sunday in the National Gallery of Art's West Garden Court was shot through with youthful themes. His generous program opened with an early Beethoven sonata that evoked spring and closed with a rapid-fire Paganini ditty of the sort often used by younger players to show off their virtuosity.
Krysa plays with an offhanded confidence, his weightless bow work creating a warm tone that is at times almost breathy. Right from the gliding opening phrase of Beethoven's Sonata No. 5 in F ("Spring"), Krysa slid from note to note with the deftness of a figure skater. Occasional flubbed notes seemed to heighten his concentration in the passages that followed.
Krysa was more engaged, and more successful, in sober compositions such as the "Lullaby" by Yevhen Stankovych and the Brahms Sonata No. 3 in D Minor.
He was both commanding and elegiac in the Adagio movement of the Brahms, fashioning a contemplative mood that transported the listener willingly to a sentimental spot where weighty cares cannot be dispelled.
Pianist Tatiana Tchekina, Krysa's wife, was a lively and bright accompanist. Relying heavily on foot pedals, she played with an old-fashioned, grand sound, perhaps in an effort to combat the hall's sorry acoustics.