TRIO SOLISTI, Libby Gardner Concert Hall, Wednesday

Trio Solisti (Maria Bachmann, violin; Alexis Pia Gerlach, cello; Jon Klibonoff, piano) is making a big splash on the chamber music scene, and for good reason. Members of the trio exhibit consummate musicianship and impeccable technique. Their artistry is nearly unsurpassed among piano trios, and it wouldn't be an exaggeration to consider them the premiere ensemble of its kind in the United States today.

Having played in Utah several times over the last couple of years (in Logan and Moab), the trio finally made its Salt Lake debut Wednesday in the Chamber Music Society of Salt Lake City's first concert of the new season.

The trio's debut performance here was a remarkable tour de force presentation that only underscored its astonishing talent.

The threesome played a demanding program that had Ravel's Piano Trio in A minor and Piazzolla's "Four Seasons in Buenos Aires" on the first half, and their own arrangement of Mussorgsky's "Pictures at an Exhibition" in the second.

Ravel's trio is a delectable work, one of his lushest perhaps, and certainly one of his most sensuous. The three players captured the bewitching loveliness of the music with their vivid and richly textured playing. It was impassioned, effusive and stunningly expressive.

Piazzolla expressed the soul of Buenos Aires in his tangos. His music is earthy and it feels a little rough around the edges, yet that is only an illusion. His music is quite refined in expression and bold in its emotions — and that's how Trio Solisti played his "Four Seasons." The trio certainly knew how to bring the work to life with its arresting and bold reading.

As an arrangement for piano trio, Trio Solisti's version of Mussorgsky's "Pictures" is not an unqualified success. Doubling of the piano part by the violin and cello isn't always necessary and the piece could benefit from a more carefully crafted balance in the scoring throughout. As it is, it comes across as a solo piano work (which it originally is) with violin and cello accompaniment.

The threesome, however, gave a dramatic reading that brought out the dynamic scope of the work compellingly. And while Klibonoff's playing overpowered his partners rather too frequently, it was nevertheless an impressive effort — it was adventurous, striking and forceful in effect.


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