It was an evening of midsummer pleasure as the Aspen Festival continued last night at the Terrace Theatre with music of Mendelssohn, Debussy and Carter.
Debussy's String Quartet in G Minor never strays from its only theme, yet it offers a rainbow of textures that surprise as they surround their single form. The Chester Quartet gave it an exuberant reading. Its colors were closer to Fauvism than necessary, but certain rhythm and palpable vitality were quite enough for one to overlook an occasional lapse in intonation.
Robert McDuffie, Michelle Djokic and Sandra Rivers played the Mendelssohn Trio No. 1 for Violin, Cello and Piano, Op. 49. It was truly a performance of festival quality. From the outset McDuffie's violin dominated the trio, with power and abandon reminiscent of a young Victor Tetryakov, while each musician's individual charisma proved irresistible. Rivers' piano sang softly inthe andante, providing an elegant chaperone for the flirtations of McDuffie's violin and Djokic's cello. And that passion reached sustained glories in the final movement.
The concert began with Elliott Carter's Piano Sonata played by Duane Hulbert. The pianist's obvious commitment to the piece resulted in impressive sounds. He made the most of the traces of jazz in the first movement, and his dynamic control was admirable, whether creating an impressive wall of overtones or simply letting single notes fall in an abyss of silence. Yet, just as a dazzling array of remnants does not make a serviceable carpet, Hulbert's impressive touches could not make a beautiful whole out of this dull score