Some of the most ravishing music around is tucked away in piano trios, as violinist Jaime Laredo, cellist Sharon Robinson and pianist Joseph Kalichstein demonstrated in their recital at the Terrace Theater last night. The full-bodied piano sound seems to draw from composers a richness of concept that is often quite different from their writing for strings alone.
Pianists must, of course, be careful not to dominate the performance even though they frequently have the major role. Kalichstein offered an ideal blend of vigor and sensitivity, pulling out plenty of power in the virtuoso flights of Mendelssohn's demanding C-Minor Trio, yet scaling down for intimate passages in an intriguing Haydn work. He even gave the illusion of shaping a melody with the sliding dynamic nuances that are really only possible for a string player.
Laredo and Robinson, who are, incidentally, husband and wife, produced enough exquisitely molded lines to make a lesser pianist despair. Both possess a highly refined sensitivity that gives their playing a quiet radiance. Laredo consistently contributed eloquent phrases subtly shaded to match the expressive style of his partners. Robinson's shaping of the soulful cello melody that opens the second movement of Schubert's E-Flat Major Trio was one of the evening's special moments, though there were many of the kind that make chamber music audiences go into raptures.