If anything linked the four works presented in a recital by the Swiss pianist Louis Schwizgebel-Wang at Zankel Hall on Tuesday night, it was inspiration. Not just in the sense that the composers did their work well - though that was certainly true - but also in the sense that each piece was written in reaction to some outer stimulus.
Presented here by Young Concert Artists, Mr. Schwizgebel-Wang, 19, opened with Mozart's Sonata in D (K. 311), written at least partially when the composer was the same age. The motive was romance: Mozart wrote the piece for Josepha Freysinger, the musically gifted daughter of a composer who is now obscure. Mindful of that, Mr. Schwizgebel-Wang might have lavished more amorousness on his otherwise admirable account of the songful Andante.
Apparently impressed with Ms. Freysinger's ability as well, Mozart provided busy, playful outer movements and a brief, dramatic cadenza at the end. These Mr. Schwizgebel-Wang dispatched with a fastidious touch and plenty of sparkle.
Brahms was inspired to write his two Opus 79 Rhapsodies by a restful period spent in the Austrian village of Pörtschach in 1878. In a letter to a friend he referred to them as "worthless trash." These turbulent fantasies are anything but. Mr. Schwizgebel-Wang offered passionate readings, phrased with
an expressive elasticity that never distorted the music's dramatic arc.
Erwin Schulhoff, a gifted Prague-born Jewish composer who perished in a Nazi camp in Bavaria in 1942, drew on vernacular sounds in his five " Études de Jazz," a set of devilish romps based on the Charleston, the blues, the chanson and the tango, and ending with an explosive take on Zez Confrey's novelty tune "Kitten on the Keys." The work ought to be better known, and Mr. Schwizgebel-Wang's dazzling account seemed to win converts.
Mussorgsky's Olympian "Pictures at an Exhibition" was inspired as much by his friendship with the artist and architect Victor Hartmann as by a display of Hartmann's paintings and sketches that Mussorgsky saw in 1874. It is better known now via Ravel's orchestration, difficult to ignore when hearing the piano version. But Mr. Schwizgebel-Wang's stately fanfares, tumbling phrases, lumbering chords and eerie sustains drew due attention to Mussorgsky's pianistic resourcefulness.
Mr. Schwizgebel-Wang saved his most dazzling fingerwork for two encores: a persuasively slippery account of Chopin's Waltz in C sharp minor (Op. 64, No. 2) and a lithe, ticklish version of Moszkowski's "Sparks." - Classical Flair With Vernacular Flourishes, Steve Smith, New York Times.