incident light

Christine Lamprea & Daniel Anastasio

A homecoming, with fire and ice

December 16, 2013

It is counted as good fortune when a community is able to export precious raw materials from local mines. It is yet more gratifying to experience their transformation into finely wrought finished products.

The cellist Christine Lamprea and the pianist Daniel Anastasio, San Antonio natives and 2007 graduates from TMI and Saint Mary’s Hall, respectively, pursued music on disparate paths that eventually converged at the Juilliard School in New York. They returned home for the holidays and performed as a duo for the first time Sunday in Gallery Nord. The concert sponsor was Musical Bridges Around the World. The intelligent and challenging program: Leos Janacek’s “Pohádka,” Benjamin Britten’s Cello Sonata in C and Johannes Brahms’s Cello Sonata No. 2 in F.

The performances were big, gregarious, stylish, rhythmically alert  and technically assured all around. The two players differed in musical temperament, but in a way that allowed them to complement rather than collide with one another.

Ms. Lamprea was the firebrand of the pair. She spit out feral pizzicati in Janacek, and in the opening statement of the Brahms she hurled the discrete phrases like so many Molotov cocktails. She held nothing back, but she possessed the underlying discipline to make all the risks pay off. She projected a huge, taffeta-textured sound, almost overwhelming the open-lidded piano in the very live gallery space. Something else: She seemed to relish the materiality of sound production — the tender/tough touch of bow hair on strings, the physical act of making music.

Mr. Anastasio favored patrician clarity and the long view. His playing was generally cooler than Ms. Lamprea’s, but no less lively or colorful. He was especially effective in the Britten sonata’s theatrical gestures, such as the cat-and-mouse byplay in the scherzo. Free of apparent technical limitations, he effortlessly spun Brahms’s busy piano part into cogent paragraphs providing solid support for the cello line.

Mike Greenberg