Itzhak Perlman It is evident once again, with Itzhak Perlman's Sunday recital, how the Israeli-born Wunderkind manages to stay atop the mounting heap of world-class violin virtuosos: sweet, singing soulfulness, delivered with insolent ease.
That was the single thread that wove his Symphony Hall performance of Bach, Bartok, de Falla, and Saint-Saens into a rich and colorful musical tapestry. Perlman uses every inch of the bow and draws it top to bottom in great, brooding sweeps. His giant fingers dance like possessed goblins about the neck of his 1714 Stradivarius. He seems double-jointed at every knuckle, giving him free rein for extravagant vibrato at every pitch.
Before the encores, this was not a repertoire of crowd pleasers. (The violin oeuvre is notoriously small, and Perlman must dig deeper each year to come up with interesting and balanced programs for his two or more yearly performances here). The Bach (Sonata in C minor) was uncharacteristically beautiful (as opposed to structured). Bartok (Sonata No. 2) was wonderfully rhythmical, severe , and evocative. Saint-Saens (Sonata in D minor), Falla (Suite Populaire Espagnole), and three encores with a touch of schmaltz seemed closer to the type of music the violin - a la Itzhak Perlman - was made for. - Daniel B. Wood