Saturday's concert was polished and exciting, for the pair were well- matched in temperament. Ransom had a big sound and a clean, controlled bow arm. She pushed the bright acoustics of the Lieberman Auditorium to the limit, bouncing an occasional echo off the barren back wall. Fortunately, Sirianni, an engaging accompanist, pegged the piano's lid at its lowest setting.
The duo's generous and warm sound was best in Debussy's Sonata for Violin and Piano in G minor.
In the first movement, Ransom spread the soulful theme over the room like an improvisation. Sirianni took the violinist's cue, following her bent notes and slow shifts with his own rubato phrases.
Brahms' Sonata for Violin and Piano in D minor followed the Debussy, and though the sound in the first movement wasn't as full as in the Debussy, the piece was illuminated by the duo's reading. A passage in the first movement, where Ransom rocked between the E and A strings, was awkward. Surprisingly, at the end of the movement, Ransom's warm sound made phrases glow, and a descending passage of notes that also crossed strings ended the movement effectively.
Mozart's Sonata for Violin and Piano in G major (K. 301) opened the concert somewhat heavily. And the Kreutzer, which finished the concert, also was uneven. Sirianni introduced the second theme with great reserve, and he dragged the tempo during the development section. Ransom also scaled herself down during a cadenzalike section. Sirianni's opening passage in the theme- and-variation second movement was percussive instead of lyrical. But the penultimate variation, with its running piano notes, violin pizzicato and echoing passages, was moving and reinforced the closing melodramatic variation.