The Amerigo Trio was formed in the summer of 2009, but its members play like a string trio that’s been together for decades. Led by violinist Glenn Dicterow (the longtime concertmaster of the New York Philharmonic), the Amerigo Trio was heard in a recital at Dumbarton Church on Saturday that showcased its strengths. Dicterow’s sweet, large, tightly focused tone gave the ensemble a rock-solid leading voice. But cellist Inbal Segev matched him with her thrillingly projected, vibrato-rich playing (not to mention a beautifully judged range of color and dynamics), while Karen Dreyfus’s lean and throaty viola sound provided piquant contrast. It was in its finely woven blend of timbres and rapport, though, that the trio most deeply satisfied.
The program was a charmer, opening with Beethoven’s very early Serenade in D Major, Op. 8, a masterfully written piece that manages to sound almost nothing like the Beethoven we’ve come to recognize. But the clear influences of the composer’s elder contemporaries were treated with warmth and wit by the Amerigo players, from the sunny Mozartian swagger of the opening march to the decidedly Haydnesque cheek of the third-movement scherzo and the Polish dance in the fourth movement.
Following a febrile, excitingly virtuosic reading, by Dicterow and Segev, of Johan Halvorsen’s Handel-based Passacaglia in G Minor for Violin and Cello, the trio dug into Ernst von Dohnanyi’s Serenade in C Major, Op. 10. Ensemble was especially tight and poised here, with the musicians bringing out the way the work’s clean lines and slightly angular harmonies sound like gentler, more neoclassical Bartok.
Banno is a freelance writer.