The evening events at the University of Maryland International Piano Festival and William Kapell Competition got underway Saturday, marking the 17th anniversary of this popular Washington musical institution. But the piano shared the spotlight with other instruments, a situation keyboard enthusiasts had to forgive owing to the fine program by the renowned James Buswell-Leslie Parnas-Lee Luvisi Trio.
Mozart's gracious Piano Trio in E major (K. 542) contained a suave sense of balance with subtle applications of virtuoso playing. A few indefinite entrances by cellist Parnas and violinist Buswell were quickly overcome, and the overall delicate proportions were maintained throughout.
The group's carefully measured sound served well in Faure''s genial Piano Trio (Op. 120), where the first movement gradually builds from the passive opening to the intense coda. Faure''s smooth, homogenous themes received keenly sustained attention. Particularly lovely was the initial exchange, so natural it could have been sung in the long, handsome andantino.
Beethoven's "Archduke" Piano Trio in B flat major (Op. 97) showed pianist Luvisi to advantage, his sharp attacks and clear tone prominent. The work's mechanics were cohesive and tight, the emotional interpretation understated. With such an approach, the meditative andante emerged as excellently styled music.