The nostalgia was palpable and the sentiment rich and thick at the Corcoran Gallery on Monday as pianist Guity Adjoodani played a program of Iranian folk and classical music. An impeccable pianist, born in Iran and trained largely in the United States, Adjoodani plays with the soul of the best late-19th-century romantics. Her tone was opulent, her articulation beautifully defined and her sense of phrasing felt as if it had been imparted to her directly from the spirit of Iranian peasantry.
She opened and ended the program with groups of short, romantic pieces by Javad Maruli, Rouben Gregorian and a number of others each of which might have been, in turn, by Liszt or Rachmaninoff or even Chopin gone modal and repetitive. In between was a set of 19 folk songs, many of them arranged by Adjoodani, some rather predictable and formulaic but others full of wonderful and infectious rhythms. She approached each one like a treasured friend and knew exactly what she wished each to say.
Maybe, as a concert program, there was too much heavy, sweet modality, but as an opportunity for the Iranians in the audience (including an elderly woman who sang audibly through the whole thing) to reminisce, it was a special occasion.
-- Joan Reinthaler