Itzhak Perlman may be turning 60 this summer, but he is still the world's most popular fiddler, and his 14th recital for the
Perlman was involved and interesting as well as in strong technical shape. He has sometimes favored servile collaborative pianists, but that does not describe Rohan De Silva. The Sri Lankan pianist is anything but reticent, even with the piano lid on short stick. This cut down on resonance and projection, and the big, striding theme of the first movement of Beethoven's ''Kreutzer" Sonata sounded cramped, but De Silva knows when he is supposed to take the lead, and Perlman let him.
The violinist began quietly in Mozart's E-minor Sonata (K. 304), with careful attention to voicing his part in relationship to the piano. The ''Kreutzer" was even better; the whole thing had command, sweep, and detail, and the limpidly purling variations of the second movement were delightful.
Perlman hasn't been associated with contemporary music for a long time, so it was good to hear him back among the living for Ellen Taaffe Zwilich's ''Episodes." The first part, sounding French in style, called for all of Perlman's famous, vibrantly glowing tone in the low register and his voluptuously singing line. The second, more Spanish in character, called for all the standard virtuoso tricks and left-hand pizzicato. Smetana's two contrasting pieces in ''From the Homeland" also showed Perlman at his best -- the sighing nostalgia, the piquant dance rhythms.
Perlman the comedian came to the fore as he shuffled the printed music for his sheaf of six encore pieces -- by Gluck or Kreisler as composer, pasticheur, or arranger (a dance from Falla's ''La Vida Breve"). These are not merely lollipops; Perlman offered all of them, the quiet ones and the dazzling ones, from the heart, so they weren't empty calories but nourishment for the spirit.