Egle Januleviciute, pianist, in recital

At the First United Methodist Church, Tuesday, May

Reviewed by Gerald Carpenter

Egle Januleviciute lived up to all the enthusiasm I poured out
in these pages in advance of this concert — and in the event, it
was my powers of description that fell short, not her playing.

Seated high in the upper gallery, looking directly toward the
altar, I had a perfect Busby Berkeley view of her performance. The
piano was placed at the crossing of the nave and transept, on the
level; she was also at the crossing of broad crimson carpets. Tall
and elegant and dressed in black, she showed us her profile and
moved very little, and even then with the utmost in economy and
grace. Wherever you went in that church, she was at the center: a
flawless composition.

She performed a rich and strange program, completely from
memory. (It makes her laugh when I mention this, since, in her
world, you don’t ask anyone to pay to hear you sight-read.) There
were three long pieces, each with a witty and erudite introduction
by Dr. Alejandro Planchart.

The concert opened with Bach’s Partita No. 2 in C
. Every bit as nimble as Glenn Gould’s, Egle’s Bach is
somehow weightier, darker — more a tidal wave than a sparkling
stream, but always crystal clear.

Rachmaninoff’s Variations on a Theme of Corelli, Opus
followed, but did little to lighten things up. Indeed, the
Corelli “theme,” the folia from Opus 5, No. 12, is, except
for the “March” from Purcell’s Funeral Music for Queen
, just about the most austerely solemn music I know.
Rachmaninoff takes to it like a duck to water, spinning off
variants like sparks.

The evening concluded with another bashful masterpiece: Chopin’s
Sonata No. 3 in B Minor, Opus 58. Far less frequently
played than the Sonata No. 2 in B-flat Minor, Opus 35, it
also is a masterwork of the very highest order — as Dr. Planchart
pointed out, the two are just about the only sonatas worth
listening to from the time, and the only ones that owe very little
to Beethoven. With Egle as one’s guide, who could fail to be


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