Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Cleveland Chamber Music Society: Schubert Piano Trios

Schubert: Piano Trio in B-flat Major, Op. 99, D898
Schubert: Piano Trio in E-flat Major, Op. 100, D929
Wu Han, piano; David Finckel, cello; Philip Setzer, violin
at the Fairmount Temple Auditorium, Beachwood.

Schubert is a composer who I feel guilty about not knowing more about, so combined with the relatively dismal concert schedule this week, I made a spur of the moment decision to attend the Cleveland Chamber Music Society's concert this evening. I think his Trout Quintet remains my favorite of his works that I have heard performed.

I am still, in a way, rolling the concert around on my tongue, to figure out if I like the taste. To a large extent yes, but in many ways I want to compare it to eating pizza 3 days in a row* -- The motifs which caught my ear initially started to grate on it by the umpteenth repetition.

Generally well played, there were moments where I felt that the balance was off, specifically, that Ms. Han's piano was unnecessarily overpowering and drowning out Mr. Finckel's cello and/or Mr. Setzer's violin. The E-flat trio featured some beautiful cello playing on the part of Mr. Finckel.

The B-flat trio, and the scherzo movement in particular sounded frightenly familiar: Upon checking my iTunes Library I realized that not only was this one of the few classical pieces in my collection** [In a bit of a paradox, I can rarely stand hearing popular music live, yet there is very little classical I can listen to in recorded form], but the 3rd movement had come up on shuffle while I was listening in the office earlier today. In a somewhat creepy coincidence triangle, the copy I have features pianist Yefim Bronfman...who will be giving a concert as part of CIM's Masters Series tomorrow evening.

Yet despite the relatively sparse concert schedule this week, I find myself conflicted about plans for Saturday evening: Here in Cleveland I really want to give the Linden Quartet a whirl, for reasons I can't pinpoint; though not a Beatles fan, in Akron I'm intrigued by the Akron Symphony Orchestra/Classical Albums Live: Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, particularly because of my affection for the London Symphony Orchestra's Symphonic Rock Series, which includes renderings of some of the tracks that appeared on that album. Anyone want to cast votes?

*- Which I happen to be finishing off the last of right now. You really don't want to see me attempt to cook: The EPA gets involved, there's hazardous waste disposal... it's not pretty.
** Entering said collection while I was attempting to court a Schubert-loving a cellist a year or so go. You can see how well that went.

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