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Passion missing at Lise de la Salle recital
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Passion missing at Lise de la Salle recital

by Rod Parke - SGN A&E Writer

Piano Recital by Lise de la Salle
November 24
Meany Hall


Lise de la Salle is a master of the keyboard. I'm not sure she is yet (at age 21) a master of communication. She is a very serious musician, hardly smiling during the whole evening. Her posture was perfectly straight, and her mannerisms were limited to occasionally conducting the music with her left hand, when free.

She began this recital with Beethoven's "Piano Sonata No. 26, 'Les Adieux.'" While there were not any technical flaws I could mention, I didn't sense the composer's passion. Sure, there were all the dramatic dynamic and rhythmic contrasts, but the piano sounded cold. I didn't feel Beethoven's presence.

Things warmed up in the more famous "Moonlight" sonata (No. 14 in C-sharp minor, Op. 27). There was nothing unusual about this performance except for the perfection of lyrical line, the flawless overall arch to each movement, and the absolute loveliness of the opening "Adagio sustenuto." Indeed, one could not have asked for a more perfectly shaped and executed performance. The only thing lacking was personality.

The second half consisted of the ballet, "Romeo and Juliet, Op. 75" of Prokofiev (1935). Again, everything was fine technically in this brilliant score. There were perhaps a few missed notes here and there. But where was the delight, the wit? Again, I felt a lack of personality.

Perhaps I was just not tuned in. After all, this artist sells out houses all over the world (although Meany was, at best, three-quarters full); and the audience gave her a warm reception. Yet, I was not moved to seek her out for future recitals. She is, of course, very young.

Reviewer Rod Parke can be reached at rmp62@columbia.edu.

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