||Boston's Donald Berman is best known in these parts as a new-music pianist, based on a long association with the Dinosaur Annex ensemble and his recitals of new work. This winter he released a stunning recording of pieces by Charles Ives, who's been a specialty of Berman's for some time. Meanwhile this winter he gave a recital of works by Ives and other American composers past and present that was glowingly received here and in New York.
Berman's secret is that he's not really a new-music pianist at all, at least not one of the familiar steel-fingered variety. He was raised on the traditional repertoire and brings a marvelous delicacy and subtlety of nuance to everything he plays. And he has the credentials to prove it: in 1991 he was a prizewinner in Germany's prestigious Schubert Competition.
In this concert of German music for the Goethe Institute, Berman plays Schumann's
extravagantly virtuosic Kreisleriana; Schubert's grand D Major Sonata, Op. 53; and the
Ländler, a pretty and almost cubistic rendition of the old German dance, from the
contemporary Wolfgang Rihm.