Schumann songs brought to life by William Sharp
Sharp, a member of the conservatory's faculty, has enjoyed a distinguished, wide-ranging career, and all of that experience shone through in this exquisitely nuanced performance, with the sensitive support of the Peabody Trio's pianist, Seth Knopp. A couple of notes here and there may have lacked firmness, but the baritone produced considerable tonal beauty and achieved a conversational intimacy, allowing the nuances of melody and text to register deeply.
Unfortunately, I had fidgety, chatty students to the right of me, figdety, chatty adults to the front of me (not for me to reason why), so part of the experience was not all it could have been. Still, the quality of the music-making conquered all.
After the Liederkeis, one of Schumann's finest chamber works was performed by the Peabody Trio (Knopp, violinist Violaine Melancon, cellist Natasha Brofsky) and violist Maria Lambros. The Piano Quartet, Op. 47, doesn't get the attention of the composer's Piano Quintet, but it should, if only because it contains what I believe to be one of the most exquisite melodies Schumann -- or anyone -- ever wrote, the theme that launches the third movement. The players on Wednesday gave an earnest, but not poetic enough, account of that movement. And the rest of the score didn't exactly soar, either. The performance seemed a little unfinished around the edges. (Beethoven was to be addressed by the Peabody Trio on the program, but I slipped away at intermission.)