The 20th Century Consort's program at the Hirshhorn Saturday was made entirely of instrumental works -- something new for this ensemble, which has always presented contemporary vocal literature. Maybe the singers were missed, but the players fared nicely on their own.
Ingolf Dahl's "Concerto a Tre" (1947) opened the concert with an agile, invigorating reading that made the most of the work's easy momentum. Clarinetist Loren Kitt, violinist Elisabeth Adkins and cellist David Hardy treated the lucid texture with care, and firmly grasped the neoclassic score's motivic groundwork.
The Washington premiere of Jon Deak's "Lady Chatterley's Dream" proved funny and entertaining in a dramatic sense, if not always in a musical one. The three-movement piece for strings and piano draws portraits of D.H. Lawrence's characters by combining music and spoken excerpts from the book into a long chain of sound effects. The delivery seemed polished.
Hardy's American premiere of "Trois Strophes sur le nom de Sacher" for solo cello, by Henri Dutilleux, is one of the dozen works commissioned by Mstislav Rostropovich to honor the Swiss musician and arts patron Paul Sacher. Hardy breezed through the difficult technical demands and mastered the rhythmic complexities. His neat articulation was particularly impressive. A powerful interpretation of Ravel's Trio for Violin, Cello and Piano, with Lambert Orkis at the keyboard, included a finale that exploited every bit of instrumental color and vibrancy.