open Mixon Masters Series on October 17
The latter two-thirds of the Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson piano trio (violinist Jaime Laredo and cellist Sharon Robinson) are now faculty members at the Cleveland Institute of Music, which is how pianist Joseph Kalichstein earned the curious title of “guest artist” in the program on Wednesday evening, October 17, when the Trio opened this season's Mixon Hall Masters Series. The occasion was graced with the kind of assured and seasoned performances of works by Beethoven, Previn and Brahms that can only become so refined by three decades of constant togetherness.
Beethoven's early Trio in G, op. 1, no. 2 was distinguished by an almost reverent approach to realizing the meaning of the notes on the page. Exquisitely-voiced details and fine dynamic control together with an uncanny sense of ensemble raised this charming work far above the routine. Kalichstein, channeling the young Beethoven but not too wildly, was fluent and precise at the keyboard. His passage work sparkled.
André Previn wrote his Piano Trio No. 2 for the KLR Trio in 2011. It vacillates agreeably between the composer's jazz and classical personas while still somehow evoking the world of a hotel lounge festooned with potted palms — and darkened by an occasional dissonance. “Tempo I” featured muted violin runs and ended with pizzicatos. “Slowly” began with a cello solo whose theme was passed off to piano, then violin. After growing urgent, it ended with wistful chords and single notes. “Fast” was jumpy, jerky and short. The trio obviously had fun with the latest work they've added to a growing list of commissions. They played it with style and commitment.
Johannes Brahms's Trio in B, op. 8 brought the concert to a melodious and satisfying close. The trio expertly manipulated musical phrases and rhythm for expressive effect without disturbing the flow of the piece, but at other times maintained tight control over rhythmic passages. This was finely shaped Brahms that had weight without heaviness.
Remarking that he was sad to see Summer go (the trees in the garden behind the players were definitely looking autumnal), Jaime Laredo proposed an appropriate encore: Andy Stein's colorful arrangement of George Gershwin's Summer Time.
Midori is the next master musician to play on the Mixon series, on November 5, followed by soprano Christine Brewer on March 7.
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Published on ClevelandClassical.com October 23, 2012
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