MUSIC REVIEW : Martinson Brothers Perform in Pacific Palisades
Whatever it is that accounts for such musical families as Menuhin, Casadesus, et al--inherited talent, parental programming, imitative force--the brothers Martinson boast in abundance.
But in their recital Sunday at the Pacific Palisades’ Pierson Playhouse, the local residents--18-year-old pianist Anders and 20-year-old violinist Haldan--also showed that a slight age advantage can mean a lot on the developmental scale.
No matter that they have both appeared with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and won prestigious prizes and scholarships; the older musician revealed more maturity. And, by dividing the evening between them, as opposed to being equal partners in violin/piano sonatas, they invited such comparison.
As full-time academic students--Haldan is a sophomore at Yale, studying with Sidney Harth, and Anders will begin at the same university next term as a Presidential Scholar--they legitimately may not have had the time to prepare both solo works and duos.
Consequently, the alternative: The pianist played half a recital of Mozart, Beethoven and Chopin, while the violinist used the showcase to rehearse his upcoming performance with the Yale Symphony of the Elgar Concerto.
Enlisting his brother as accompanist, Haldan proved himself master of this exercise in purple romanticism. With a dusky tone that could turn tenderly sweet on the upper string, he conveyed genuine fervor, ample dexterity for the technical challenges, unceasing concentration and a welcome refinement throughout.
And that was no small accomplishment, what with Elgar’s repetitive motive seeming threadbare in this orchestra-to-piano reduction.
As for Anders, there was his fiery enthusiasm to admire--someone performing Beethoven’s “Waldstein” Sonata for the fourth, as opposed to the 400th, time does not fall into routine. And while the pianist seems happiest in moments of muscular bravura and high velocity display, he is by no means a finished artist at this stage.
So his inability to mark stylistic differences between composers was hardly more surprising than the many pages that turned glib with callowness. He vitalized the fugal deliberations and dense passagework in Chopin’s Ballade No. 4, for instance, but seemed unable to recognize wistfulness or nostalgia even when stumbled upon.