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Beaux is beautiful

Beaux Arts Trio. Feb.20, Sanders Theater

The Beaux Arts Trio's concert on Wednesday was pure delight.

The concert began with Haydn Trio's in F sharp minor,and was played with impeccable delicacy, almost to the point of fragility. The music itself is perhaps not of Haydn's best. However, the performers brought out every nuance implied in the music, thereby making what could have been a dull performance into a rather beautiful one. The delicate runs in the Allegro, the plaintive melody of the Adagio cantabile, and the energetic dotted rhythm of the Tempo di Menuetto were beautifully executed, with a very favorable result.

The Ives Trio came as a refreshing blow of unconventionality after the refined and meticulous Haydn. The first movement, Allegro Moderato, began with an extended duet between cello and piano. The melody was of complex structure, with extremely large intervals in the cello, and detailed rhythmical interplay. The violin then played a duet with the piano, followed by all three instruments playing their parts together. Although the effect was strange, it retained a certain Ivesian charm which make the work quite appealing. The second movement, entitled TSIAJ, or "This scherzo is a joke," was the most accessible of the three. Ives meshed many American folk tunes in distorted and sometimes almost unrecognizable patterns, resulting in a very humerous interlude. At times, it seemed that each performer was playing independently, as if warming up, while a very complex rhythmic unity underlay the whole movement. The third movement, Moderato con moto, contrasted a vigorous first theme with a very peaceful and almost religious second. The music itself was technically very difficult, but the performers never lost sight of the raucous and irreverant spirit Ives intended.

The Trio's performance of Brahms Trio in B major, opus 8 can only be described as sublime. Greenhouse and Pressler played the melody of the first movement with the sweetest and most expressive tone imaginable. The scherzo, with its lively ricochet bowing, was played perfectly. The Adagio, my personal favorite, was ethereal and almost painfully gorgeous. The final allegro was lively and interesting throughout.

The encore, finale to Beethoven's opus 1, no. 2, was played a little too much like a show piece, especially by Cohen, but again, the performers' abilities were shown off to the utmost. The concert was, as expected, a tremendous success. Sanders Theater is very fortunate indeed to have what is possibly the greatest piano trio of our time playing this series.->

Richard Gotlib->