Aspen String Trio plays Beethoven for Community Concerts at Second
Nothing like Beethoven to lure people out of their snowy domains.
A spill-over crowd gathered to hear the Aspen String Trio play an all-Beethoven program Sunday afternoon for the Community Concerts series at Second Presbyterian Church (I guess the free admission may also help attract folks -- either way, it was great to see such a large house).
The string quartet genre, which has accounted for so many masterpieces over the centuries, rather overshadows the trio repertoire. But Beethoven's trios of Op. 9 are filled with deft themes and clever development passages; they're tightly constructed. If these efforts from 1798 do not reveal all the brilliance and depth he would unleash later on in his quartets, they are, at the very least, consistently engaging.
The Aspen players -- violinist David Perry, violist Victoria Chiang, cellist Michael Mermagen -- demonstrated tight ensemble playing, generally spot-on intonation and an effective way of digging into a phrase.
There was plenty of drama and warmth in the C minor Trio, Op. 9, No. 3. The mix of lyricism and muscle the musicians brought to the G major Trio, Op. 9, No. 1, proved even more impressive; the irresistible, whirling finale -- you can really sense Beethoven showing off here -- was delivered with particular panache.