WPAS presents Amit Peled in impressive Kennedy Center recital debut
The Israeli-born cellist with the burnished tone, eloquent phrasing and great hair has been a Peabody Institute faculty member for nearly a decade and has been steadily building an international presence. He doesn't get all that much attention locally, though.
I think he might have played more concerts in Frederick at that cool Downtown Piano Works than within our city's limits (he will be back there on Wednesday for a Brahms program with violinist Ilya Kaler and pianist Alon Goldstein). There was that gig with the BSO for Beethoven's Triple Concerto last season, but I still feel like the cellist is still somewhat under-exposed here.
Meanwhile, Peled got some valuable attention in D.C. over the weekend, playing his Kennedy Center recital debut Sunday afternoon under the auspices of the Washington Performing Arts Society. It was an impressive performance.
The afternoon would have been memorable if only for Peled's incisive account of
Britten's Suite No. 3 for unaccompanied cello. Composer for Rostropovich, the score has elements of some Russian folks songs running beneath the surface of its nine short, intricately woven movements. By the time those songs appear at the very end, the personal nature of the music is driven home in remarkable, affecting fashion.
The suite is not concerned so much with exploiting the instrument's technical elements as with digging into the cello's natural soulfulness. Peled's exceptional clarity of articulation allowed the work's brilliant construction to be easily savored, while his richness of expression uncovered layers of meaning beneath the notes. The audience in the Terrace Theater seemed unusually quiet throughout and held onto that quiet for quite a while after the last sound faded.
For the rest of the recital, the cellist had the fluent, sensitive collaboration of pianist Eli Kalman in sonatas by Beethoven (an eloquent account of No. 3 in A major) and Eccles; Schumann's "Fantasiestuke" (the playing from both men was alive with character); and the vivid "Five Pieces on Folk Themes" by Sulkhan Tsintsadze (the lullaby "Nana" emerged with particular warmth).
Peled has a lot going for him, including a disarming way of speaking to the audience. Not yet out of his 30s, the cellist surely has a long, successful career ahead of him.
PHOTO COURTESY OF ARTS MANAGEMENT GROUP