The Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival presented Rachmaninoff’s Trio élégiaque in G min and Schubert’s Arpeggione Sonata as part of its Music at Noon series. A full house was in attendance for the 45 minutes of music that constituted the lunch hour program.
The trio was played by pianist Wei Luo, violinist Jennifer Gilbert, and cellist Mark Kosower. The trio which lives up to its title is a beautiful and dreamlike piece in a single movement. Written when its composer was 19, it presages the brilliant (but alas, too few) compositions that were to follow. Rachmaninoff’s musical ideal was Tchaikovsky. You can hear the older composer’s influence in virtually everything Rachmaninoff wrote. Nevertheless, the pianist/composer had his own style which is immediately recognizable. The piano part was very well played by Ms Luo, who as is often the case in chamber music that includes a piano part, overwhelmed the two string instruments. Cellist Kosower playing was fine, when you could hear him. Ms Gilbert’s intonation, however, was a tad off. Still a fine performance of a wonderful trio.
Schubert’s Arpeggione Sonata is the only composition of note written for that strange instrument – a combination of cello and guitar. It’s typically played on a cello, but today’s performance was on a viola with the usual piano accompaniment. Violist Paul Neubauer gave a flawless reading of Schubert’s lovey sonata. Haochen Zhang did not overwhelm his partner. If anything, he was a little on the overly restrained side.
In summary, a very enjoyable way to spend the noon hour.