Baroque chamber music concerts draw the same sort of devoted listeners that guitar concerts attract. It is the details that capture their rapt attention, and, indeed, the music often seems to be all details without much melodic line to hang them on.
The members of the Boston Museum Trio, who performed at the Smithsonian last night, are masters of the niceties of the elegant musical pirouette, the mannered ornament and the manicured phrase. Fortunately, they are also tuned in to the realities of the concert pace. While they allowed themselves to wallow in the doldrums of Dolle's Premiere Suite in G Major, they could also zip through a cheery Marais Sonata and revel in some of Leclair's lyricism.
On their own, these three artists displayed very different musical temperaments. Violinist Daniel Stepner is the extrovert of the group and delighted in the witticisms of his music. Laura Jeppesen, on the other hand, seemed to play her viola da gamba just for herself, and many of the nice things she was doing barely made it beyond the first few rows of seats.
Harpsichordist John Gibbons provided the most food for thought with a sensitive reading of a lovely suite by Duphly that captured the sense and the reason behind all the details.