Itzhak Perlman is considered the world's top violinist, and based on his performance Saturday night at the Lied Center, there's no reason to believe he's going to give up that title any time soon.
Music lovers filled the seats in the performance hall to hear a one-night-only concert by Perlman, who was accompanied by pianist Rohan de Silva, a native of Sri Lanka. The violinist last performed at Kansas University in October 1990, when he took the stage at Hoch Auditorium for another sold-out show.
Perlman played as he typically does -- with technical brilliance, unbridled emotion and a near superhuman ease.
The concert opened with Leclair's "Sonata in D Major for Violin and Piano," a four-movement composition that revealed the delicate balance between the violin and piano that would continue throughout the more than two-hour concert.
Perlman's phrasing was impeccable, and enhanced by the fluidity of his bowing in "Sarabanda: Largo" and his flawless fingerwork in "Tambourin: Allegro vivace."
Beethoven's "Sonata No. 9 in A Major for Violin and Piano, Op. 47, 'Kreutzer'" allowed Perlman and de Silva to play a range of styles and tempos, from the dramatic interplay at the beginning of "Adagio sostenuto -- Presto" to the lively melody of "Finale: Presto."
Perlman tackled the more complex structure of Ravel's bluesy, moody "Sonata for Violin and Piano" and came out the winner. A sustained high note at the end of "Allegretto" was breathtaking, and the speed of his playing during "Perpetuum mobile: Allegro" was dazzling.
Perlman and de Silva wrapped up the concert with a series of Gershwin compositions that had been transcribed by Heifetz. Charm and joy oozed from every pore of Perlman's musical being as he performed two selections from the composer's classic "Porgy and Bess" -- "My Man's Gone Now" and "It Ain't Necessarily So."
Perlman responded to a rousing standing ovation with an encore of two Tchaikovsky works and "The Dance of the Goblins" -- a trio that cemented his virtuosity in every audience member's mind.
-- Jan Biles' phone message number is 832-7146. Her e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.