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Delightful and engaging concert given by violinist Itzhak Perlman


Works by Beethoven, Webern,

Stravinsky, Bloch, and Gershwin.

Sunday, April 9, Symphony Hall.


ITZHAK PERLMAN IS PROBABLY THE most renowned violinist playing today, and Sunday's performance at Symphony Hall once again made clear why. His performance was consistently nothing short of amazing.

Perlman is the quintessential Beethoven violinist; when he played the first violin sonata, it was if he were playing his own work. Next came Webern's Four Pieces for Violin and Piano, an early 12-tone work. It is strange, mystifying music, but the performances made it quite enticing. After the piece, Perlman charmingly stated, "Due to the short duration of these pieces, it is a tradition to repeat them," at which point the performers did.

Stravinsky's Divertimento was a complete delight. With Perlman's synergetic performance, parts of the piece were as powerful as a symphonic performance of Rite of Spring, while in other parts, Perlman actually had his tongue in his cheek as he played. As amazing as the fact that Perlman can play as if he were the composer of a work is his adaptability to composers as diverse as Beethoven, Webern, and Stravinsky.

After a perhaps too romantic version of Ernest Bloch's Sonata No. 2, the performers brought onto stage a stack of scores from which to choose additional pieces to play. Perlman again amused the audience by closing his eyes, pulling out a score from the stack, looking at it, and then putting it back. They played several brief pieces which were Heifetz transcriptions of Gershwin preludes, waltzes, and such; all were light, charming, and virtuostic. Perlman is never too above playing works that are not in the domain of "serious" music, as long as they are entertaining. Perlman aims to please, and is more than successful in the venture. He plays every so often in Boston, and it is more than worthwhile to catch him.