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CONCERT REVIEW

SONOS At Kresge

Chamber Music At Its Best

By Guan-Jong Chen

Staff Writer

The all-star ensemble SONOS recently offered a spectacular performance of chamber music which was a rewarding and enjoyable experience for those in attendance.

The concert, taking place last Friday in Kresge Auditorium, featured violinist Bayla Keyes, violist Marcus Thompson, cellist Michael Reynolds, and pianist David Deveau. On the program were Haydn’s Piano Trio in E Major, Edward Cohen’s Quartet for piano, violin, viola, and cello, and String Trio, Opus 3 in E Major by Beethoven.

The Haydn Piano Trio in E Major was the first piece presented. It was performed by David Deveau, Senior Lecturer in music at MIT, Bayla Keyes, co-chair of the string department at Boston University, and Michael Reynolds, cellist of the Muir String Quartet.

This piece has three movements, the dignified, elegant Allegro moderato, the somber Allegretto, and the light-hearted, humorous Allegro. Although this piece was performed with three instruments -- piano, violin, and cello -- piano takes the center stage in significant portions of the music. Pianist Deveau was magnificent and offered a moving performance. Furthermore, Deveau’s overpowering stage presence and his sensitivity to the balance of the music in relation to the violin and the cello left an indelible impression in the audience. Even though the violin and the cello did not have major parts in the trio, both Keyes and Reynolds exhibited great musicianship through their flawless accompaniment of the piano.

The Quartet for piano, violin, viola, and cello by Edward Cohen was performed next. It was the climax of the concert as all the members of the SONOS were present on stage.

The quartet by Cohen is a unique piece of modern chamber music. This piece has three movements, Andante con moto-poco allegro, Tranquillo-con fuoco-tranquillo, and Allegro. Overall, the music presented a mysterious, somber, and melancholy atmosphere. In many aspects, this piece seemed to have been constructed with the concept of tiles of sound, putting them down in patterns. As in impressionist paintings, the viewers unify the images of tiles with their eyes. The same concept applies to this piece, but with sound. Besides the elegant composition of the piece, the performances by the individual musicians and the group throughout this piece were absolutely stunning.

Professor Marcus Thompson demonstrated his prowess as one of the most recognized violists in the country through the piece’s intermittent viola solos. Cellist Reynolds also shined as he rendered a particularly passionate, expressive solo in the middle of the piece.

The last piece on the program was Beethoven’s String Trio, Opus 3 in E Major. It has a total of six movements -- Allegro con brio, Andante, Menuetto and Trio (Allegretto), Adagio, Menuetto and Minore (Moderato), and Finale Allegro.

This piece was performed with violin, viola, and cello. Although it is a fairly long piece of music, SONOS was able to captivate the audience’s attention throughout the entire performance with their superb style. Violinist Keyes shined by taking on a more prominent role throughout the performance of this piece.

Overall, the entire concert was an exciting performance, with the Finale ending the evening with a flourish.