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Couple performs a richly hued recital

Schubert, Ives, Brahms pieces played superbly

VEDRANA SUBOTIC AND DAVID PORTER, Libby Gardner Concert Hall, Monday.

With such fine musicianship and artistry as was on display Monday evening, it's a pity that pianist Vedrana Subotic and violinist David Porter don't give joint recitals more frequently.

The husband-and-wife duo had a wonderful program lined up for their recital, and the audience in Libby Gardner Concert Hall was treated to a superb performance of music by Schubert, Ives and Brahms.

The three works played by Subotic and Porter place both instruments on an equal footing. The seamless ensemble work that defined the two artists' collaborative effort did full justice to the music. The result was an evening of remarkable chamber music.

The recital opened with Schubert's Fantasie in C major, D. 934. One of the composer's last works, the Fantasie is laid out on a large scale. Subotic and Porter played it in a manner that captured the scope of the work. At the same time, they never overlooked the lyricism that underlies this 30-minute piece.

Schubert was one of the great melodists to set pen to paper. His larger-scale works contain captivating melodies strung together in a cohesive whole. Subotic and Porter's interpretation of the Fantasie was expressive, yet never one-dimensional. They infused their playing with dramatic virtuosity that was engaging and compellingly vivid.

After intermission, husband and wife explored the unique musical mind of the great American iconoclast Charles Ives, in this case his Second Sonata for Violin and Piano. From the intense, stormy music of the opening movement ("Autumn") to the humorous melange of the second ("In the Barn") to the earnestness of the finale ("Revival"), Subotic and Porter made a strong case for Ives as a composer of vibrant, colorful and fascinating music.

The Second Sonata is a demanding work for both players, and the two musicians acquitted themselves wonderfully. They put passion, exuberance and drama into their interpretation.

After a brief pause, the couple closed the recital with Brahms' Sonata No. 3 in D minor, op. 108. They gave a dynamic performance that was dramatic, impassioned, serious and richly hued.

A late work, the D minor Sonata contains the quiet reflection that is found in much of the music Brahms wrote in the final years of his life. But here, this introspection is also tempered with intensely passionate lines that provide a wonderfully rich texture and dark flavor.

Subotic and Porter played the work with conviction, capturing the mood with stunning clarity.


E-mail: ereichel@desnews.com