KLR Trio shines brightly in Coral Gables

By Lawrence Budmen

The Kalichstein Laredo Robinson Trio performed Monday night in a concert presented by Friends of Chamber Music. Photo: Christian Steiner

The Kalichstein Laredo Robinson Trio was in peak form for a program of works by Beethoven, Ravel and Mendelssohn, presented by Friends of Chamber Music Monday night at Gusman Concert Hall.

After more than three decades on the concert stage, this threesome still exudes a polished and vibrant musicianship that makes the most familiar masterpieces fresh and compelling. The trio’s depth of tone and balanced interplay of voices place it in the top echelon of chamber music groups.

Beethoven’s rarely heard Variations in E-flat Major proved a delightful opener. This engaging score spotlights the lively, buoyant side of the titan from Bonn. Joseph Kalichstein’s nimble, rapid-fire keyboard playing dominated a performance that put across both the elegance and sinew, with Sharon Robinson gracefully shaping the lovely cello variation in a rich stream of tone.

Ravel’s Trio in A minor reflects classical forms through an Impressionistic voice.  Kalichstein launched the nostalgic theme of the opening movement exquisitely, and violinist Jaime Laredo’s expressive power and gleaming tone conveyed Ravel’s kaleidoscopic array of colors. The players made light work of the vigorous Pantoum interlude, and put across the eloquence of the  somber third movement’s austere passacaglia. The animated finale found the KLR players unleashing their considerable virtuosity at full throttle, capping a performance that did full justice to the pathos and visceral energy of Ravel’s vision.

Mendelssohn’s Trio in D minor is an extraordinary work, with an endless flow of melodic inspiration and an emotional depth light years removed from his earlier scores.

In an evening of outstanding music-making, the trio reserved its best for Mendelssohn’s passionately agitated score. From Robinson’s opening solo, the music flowed with inexorable urgency. In the second movement Andante, Laredo’s soaring line put across the spacious lyricism.

The quicksilver Scherzo recalls the earlier Mendelssohn of the Octet and the players brought airy brio to this charming vignette. Again, the finale is the heart of this remarkable score. Bringing appropriate weight and passion as well as strong rhythmic underpinning to Mendelssohn’s storm-tossed seas, the trio culminated a revelatory performance with a thrilling and combustible coda.

Prior to the concert, the City of Coral Gables honored Julian Kreeger with a proclamation for his twenty- five years as president and artistic director of the Friends of Chamber Music.

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Tue Jan 4, 2011
at 12:49 pm
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