An die Musik, the CD retailer in downtown Baltimore, opened its own performance space just a year ago and has already presented a startling number of classical and jazz concerts. The store even has its own artists-in-residence now.
The Monument Piano Trio, recently formed by current and former Peabody Conservatory students, sounded right at home Sunday night. Violinist Igor Yuzefovich, cellist Maxim Kozlov, and pianist Michael Sheppard revealed plenty of individual and collective strengths in an appealing program.
Haydn's Trio in G major could have used more variety and vividness of color from the strings, especially the first two movements. And the wit that drives the "Gypsy Rondo" finale didn't sparkle fully. But the clarity of articulation and tightness of ensemble work proved admirable; the players took that finale at Mach speed without losing their grip.
Music by noted American composer Robert Muczynski should turn up more often. His First Piano Trio is a compact, neatly organized piece from the mid-1960s. Much of the score has a tense, jazzy, propulsive edge, relieved in the penultimate movement by a tender reflection with hints of folk song. It received a sturdy performance.
With Anton Arensky's D minor Trio, the musicians really hit home. Although infused with bittersweet, Tchaikovsky-worthy emotions - the composer wrote it as a memorial to a friend - the music refuses to dawdle in sorrow. Sunlight keeps filtering in through the rich, lyrical themes. Polished, communicative playing brought out the warmth and inventiveness of this wonderful work.
- Tim Smith