If you were not at The Society of the Four Arts Sunday afternoon, you missed an amazing opportunity to hear a trio of musicians who have dazzled the concert stage in Europe and the United States.
The Tempest Trio with violinist Ilya Kaler, pianist Alon Goldstein and cellist Amit Peled thrilled the audience with its precise ensemble and exceptional musicianship. The member’s solo reputations extend from Carnegie Hall to more than 20 CDs. In this performance, the musicians displayed their immense skill with a broad spectrum of styles from Joseph Haydn to Leonard Bernstein.
Haydn’s Piano Trio No. 39 in G Major began the program with short themes and humor that caused the piece to be nicknamed the “Gypsy.” Here, the highly decorative keyboard part was perfectly executed and imitated in the other instruments. The group avoided the tendency to use too much vibrato in the string parts and adhered to stylistic norms for the historic period. In the rondo, the chosen tempo tested the collective technique of the players.
In contrast to the limited harmonic vocabulary of the period, Bernstein’s Piano Trio opened the door to the 20th century use of “tone clusters,” exploring shocking melodic intervals that gave the piece intensity. The creative use of syncopation, a typical device that Bernstein used to energize his works, was performed with energy and a high degree of precision. Here, the audience expected the dissonant sounds written by the university student Bernstein as an exercise in modern composition.
The position of this style of piece in the program is intended to let the audience recover during an intermission by presenting an opportunity to discuss the various aspects of the music they had just heard. The skill of the performance brought them back for Antonin Dvorak’s Piano Trio No. 3 in F Minor, Op.65, a highly dramatic work based on large scale themes set in the chromatic harmony of the period. This romantic piece brought out the sensitive phrasing of the highly talented group and once again challenged their skill.
The audience responded with an immediate standing ovation and was rewarded with an encore.