On paper, the Vaener Trio +l +2 billing sounds like more like the latest economy model from Detroit, rather than a chamber ensemble.
In reality, this string trio, featuring violinist George Marsh, cellist Karen Kaderavek and violist Scott Woolweaver, have performed together for more than five years since meeting while they were string principals of the Orchestra-Detroit. Last night at the Dumbarton Methodist Church, these players, along with Katherine Hay on flute and pianist Barbro Dahlman, revealed themselves to be a cohesive, well-tuned unit indeed.
The Vaener Trio got off to a rough start with a rather stodgy reading of Haydn's Trio in G Major, which was marred by some garbled phrasing and a harsh tone in the violin. Bohuslav Martinu's "Trio," a tautly written virtuosic tour de force, fared much better, for the group understated the bold, declamatory exchanges. Similarly, Jerzy Sapieyevski's reverie-laden "Aria," completed in 1982, found the strings and piano complementing the atmospheric flute lines beautifully articulated by Hay.
The flutist lent a patrician grace to Mozart's Quartet in D Major, K. 285, especially in the adagio, with its sprightly melody supported by pizzicato strings. A last-minute program addition--Beethoven's String Trio in G, Op. 9, No. 11--received scrupulous attention by the Trio, as their precise attacks and clean articulation explicitly carried out the composer's intentions.