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In performance: Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson Trio

Web-only review:

Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson Trio offers Schubert with equanimity
by Robert Battey

The venerable Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson Trio, resident artists of the Kennedy Center Fortas Chamber Music Concerts, performed both of Schubert's monumental trios Sunday evening before a full and enthusiastic Terrace Theater audience. These well-seasoned musicians know these pieces like they know one another's faces, and the musicmaking exuded unruffled mastery throughout.
(read more after the jump)

The B-flat and E-flat trios, written when the composer was 30 (the last full year of his life), have long been touchstone works, presenting the most daunting technical and expressive challenges in the genre. The B-flat Trio is the more aggressively brilliant, the E-flat the more poignant and soulful. Many groups do better in one than the other. The Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson Trio's deep familiarity transcends these distinctions, and the group gave richly detailed readings of both. Highlights included creative rubatos in the phrasing in the Scherzo of the B-flat Trio and an unusually tragic atmosphere in the famous Andante con moto of the E-flat Trio (used in "Barry Lyndon" and "The Hunger," among other movies). There, the music was more of a lament than a weary trudge.

Pianist Joseph Kalichstein was highly impressive all evening, though his vigilant control of balances flagged toward the end -- the piano overpowered the strings too often in the final two movements of the E-flat Trio. Violinist Jaime Laredo was Buddha-like -- impassive and profound -- though it must be said that his sound now shows some weariness. Cellist Sharon Robinson still produces richly expressive solos, but her bow technique used to be more nimble and flexible. Overall, though, a performance to cherish.

-- Robert Battey

By Anne Midgette  |  March 2, 2010; 6:00 AM ET
Categories:  local reviews  
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