The Beaux Arts Trio brought their inimitable style and flair to a nicely varied program at the National Academy of Sciences Thursday night. And while they chose to include two repertory standards, Mozart's Piano Trio in G, K. 496, and Schubert's Piano Trio in E-Flat, Op 100, D. 929, the ensemble eschewed the kind of musical tricks others sometimes use to spice performances of familiar works.
On Thursday night, the music glowed with warmth imparted by a faithful interpretation of the composers' intentions.
The Mozart trio was a drizzle of light suspended effortlessly between pianist Menahem Pressler and violinist Isidore Cohen. Where, as in the opening Allegro, the music calls for brilliance, Pressler and Cohen obliged; where the music required a more contemplative approach, as in the Andante, the Beaux Arts probed with equal enthusiasm -- though never giving more weight to the excursion than was merited.
Schubert's Piano Trio in E-flat fit this ensemble like a glove, and they mirrored the work's gentle lyricism and radiant grace perfectly. Attention to detail made each falling third and octave a slightly varied tint of color, and the bittersweet major-minor tonalities of the first movement were masterfully sculpted.
Alexander von Zemlinsky's Trio in D Minor, Op. 3, was the only composition to disappoint. As a curio, it's worthy of being brought out of the drawer once in a while. But there's only so much you can do with second-rate material even if you are the Beaux Arts Trio.