Two men of Harvard and New England Conservatory from different generations played their first recital together Sunday afternoon in Jordan Hall: violinist Stefan Jackiw, only 20 and still an undergraduate, and pianist Max Levinson, now 33 and out in the world.
Jackiw (pronounced JACK-eef), formerly Boston's most prominent prodigy, plays with a radiant quality of sound and mature artistic goals. Even when he was passing out ear candy at the end -- a Liszt ''Consolation" transcribed by Nathan Milstein, and Saint-Saens's ''Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso" -- Jackiw kept his work securely focused on musical values and not on selling himself. In Mozart's Sonata in B-flat (K. 378), he was alert to the various roles the violin plays as soloist, accompanist, and duet partner. Stravinsky's ''Suite Italienne," drawn from the ballet ''Pulcinella," found Jackiw at home in the styles of both the composer's 18th-century models and of Stravinsky himself.
Jackiw boasts both the chops and stamina for Richard Strauss's Sonata, that curious mixture of Brahms, Wagner, early Richard Strauss, and cocktail music. This heavy-breathing piece requires stamina from the audience, too; there is a perfectly good standard cut in the finale that Jackiw and Levinson declined to observe.
Levinson is the more experienced chamber musician of the two; he played with the piano lid all the way up, but he never overwhelmed the violin. He is a more interactive player than Jackiw is, and in no sense a servile ''accompanist." He played with bold imagination and drew clearer distinctions among musical styles than Jackiw. These composers also developed melodic lines that were influenced by vocal styles Jackiw needs to investigate. He failed to let the slow movement of the Mozart breathe, and to connect the ornamentation to the line in the Liszt piece.
Both musicians communicated the humor of the Saint-Saens with an insouciant mastery that delighted an audience full of prominent string players.
The most poignant moment came in an encore, Chopin's Nocturne in C-sharp Minor, which Jackiw dedicated to his teacher Michele Auclair, who died last summer. Both Jackiw and Levinson delivered this piercingly sad music with heartfelt, elegant eloquence.