Wrapping itself in blankets, a chilly audience last night at Wolf Trap was warmed up by spirited playing from the Concert Soloists of Wolf Trap. With music securely clothespinned to their stands, members of the recently formed group put nimble fingers to work in an exceptionally lyrical program.
Some of the evening's most passionate playing came from 19-year-old cellist Charles Curtis, a past winner of the International Bach Competition in Washington. A performer who puts his total being into every note, Curtis turns each line into a charged statement. With pianist Earl Wild, he plunged into a melodic Samuel Barber sonata, producing gorgeous, flowing lines as well as some delightfully pointed moments in the second movement toccata passages.
Guitarist Elliot Fisk contributed his particular brand of emotion to the concert in a highly personal performance of Ten Etudes by Villa-Lobos. Tripping easily through the abundant technical hurdles, Fish took frequent liberties with the music, which worked on the whole because they honored the composer's intent. With a moment's hesitation ro a slight ritard he would deftly bring out the wit or the poignance of a passage.
With pianist Wild, flutist Gary Schocker brought grace and musicianship to Schubert's variation on "Ihr blumlein alle." Granted that some of the passages are fiendishly difficult, one nonetheless wished for more clarity of articulation and tone than Schocker was able to produce.
Throughout the program, pianist Wild provided the solid foundation that made the many beautiful flights of expressive playing possible. Matching their youthful colleague's fervor, Wild and violinist Oscar Shumsky closed the evening with a lovely performance of Saint-Saens' first sonata for piano and violin.