Last night's concert at the Library of Congress reached some sort of climax when violinist Richard Young bent over and picked up one of the sheets of paper that had fallen from his music stand. He smiled in embarrassment while his colleagues, pianist Barbara Weintraub and cellist Carter Brey, looked on in silence.
As Young put his instrument up to his shoulder, Brey leaned over and picked a piece of lint from the fiddle, and the Rogeri Trio was able to get on with the last few notes of the scherzo of Charles Ives' Piano Trio. There was a moment of silence, then the audience broke out into spontaneous and prolonged applause, although there was still another movement to play--an essay in nostalgia concluding with a soulful "Rock of Ages" on the cello.
The scherzo is labeled "Tsiaj," which stands for, "This scherzo is a joke"--which is what the Italian word scherzo means..
Translating it into performance, the Rogeri Trio made it a happening. The music discusses student high jinks during the composer's days at Yale, and the Rogeri Trio certainly caught its spirit.
The Ives livened the program after a rather somnolent opening (the adagio from Bruckner's Quintet in F) and led happily into a vigorous conclusion with Dvora'k's tuneful Piano Quartet in E-flat, a loose-knit but eloquent excursion into declamatory styles and peasant dance rhythms that the same musicians had performed Monday evening at the Wolf Trap Barns. This second performance had a bit more clarity and less warmth than the first (a reflection of the contrasting acoustics of these superb halls), and the ensemble playing was even tighter than before.
The performers in this series, recruited by violist Miles Hoffman of the National Symphony, are an extraordinarily talented group who play beautifully together and choose their repertoire imaginatively. This series provides reassurance that the future of chamber music is in excellent hands.