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In performance: Peled for free

Web-only review:

Cellist Amit Peled shines on free concert series
by Alfred Thigpen

Amit Peled gets compared to a young Rostropovich frequently, if unfairly. With each outing, the Israeli cellist proves to be his own unprecedented presence. And on Friday evening in Frederick, Peled left his audience at Downtown Piano Works in Frederick, Maryland visibly awed with jaw-dropping pyrotechnics as well as nuance.
(read more after the jump)

This free program (part of a regular series at the venue) also featured Russian-born pianist Dina Vainshtein who, with Peled, owned Beethoven's Sonata in G Minor outright. The two locked on entrances with the same astonishing precision they employed on blazing runs, all the while conveying Beethoven's leonine roaring and contrasting lyricism with bravado and soul. Remarkably, it was their first collaboration on this work.

"Five Pieces on Folk Themes" by Georgian composer Sulkhan Tsintsadze was an unexpected treasure, with each movement possessing a strongly ethnic sense of dance, whimsy and occasional melancholy. Peled and Vainshtein captured every subtlety, expression and color of this delightful collection.

The surprise of the evening was Peled's cello. At roughly one hundredth the cost of his 1689 Guarneri, his instrument, a 2010 Wolfgang Schnabl, produced a richly voluminous sound and stood up to vigorous pizzicatos and athletic downbows. Fed up with elitism, Peled says he wants to rewrite the rules for frustrated string players longing for unaffordable fine instruments.

Congratulations to Downtown Piano Works for 20 months of free, top-quality performances. If live classical music has a viable future, it will be in part because of outside-the-box venues such as this. The next concert, showcasing the pianist Alon Goldstein, is on July 17th.

-- Alfred Thigpen

By Anne Midgette  |  June 21, 2010; 1:00 AM ET
Categories:  local reviews  
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Next: In performance: Magic Flute (Summer Music Festival 2010)

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