Hearing the Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson Trio in concert at the University of Maryland's Tawes Theatre Wednesday night left no doubt that this is chamber music at its finest. Details were crystal clear, nuances were deftly crafted and the ensemble never failed to realize the full potency of the music.
Haydn's Piano Trio in E Minor, Hob. XV:12, was performed impeccably. The opening Allegro Sostenuto was lightly sprung with easy, graceful phrasing and pianissimos of a delicate hue. A couple more dashes of exuberance would not have gone amiss in the closing Rondo, although technical resilience alone would have carried the trio through.
But it was in the Andante of the Haydn trio that the ensemble really excelled. Silence is as important as sound, and here what was left unsaid gave added eloquence to dreamy melodies and harmonic shifts.
Playing in the Brahms Piano Trio in B, Op. 8, was simply transcendent. It is unquestionably a fine work to begin with, but Joseph Kalichstein, Jaime Laredo and Sharon Robinson carved out an unforgettable performance. Only a long association among artists can evoke the kind of sound and contour heard in these four movements; that the trio has played together for 13 years comes as no surprise.
What was surprising was the inclusion in the program of a piano trio written in the 1920s by Rebecca Clarke. Clarke didn't write much, and few people today have heard of her, but her eclectic and somewhat declamatory style has a charm of its own and this full-scale work could stand up to repeated performances.