Next to making love, there is probably no more intimate form of communication than playing chamber music, and adjusting to changes in the personnel of a chamber ensemble can be as traumatic as adjusting to a new partner. That cellist Peter Wiley has been able to fit so smoothly into the gap left by the retirement this season of Bernard Greenhouse from the Beaux Arts Trio is miraculous, but not entirely surprising. His visits to this city, with a variety of chamber groups over the years, have been illuminated by a special aura of awareness of the other artists he was performing with, and he has projected as much delight in the collaboration as in the music itself.
This flavor of intimacy was most evident in the Schubert B-flat Trio that ended the Beaux Arts program at the Library of Congress Thursday night. As in so much of Schubert's chamber music, the strings are often treated here as singers, conversing with one another. Wiley followed violinist Isidore Cohen's lead with astonishing delicacy and then took the lead with his own inflections, seeming to be as eager to share his own ideas as to take his cues from the others.
Cohen and pianist Menahem Pressler gave a witty and intense reading of Rorem's fine "Night Music," eight short, splendidly crafted tonal landscapes that give vivid interpretations of gnats, mosquitoes and all the other creatures that fill the night air with sounds.
The concert opened with a careful performance of Mozart's rather square C Major Trio, K. 548.