Back in 2013, when the Tokyo Quartet disbanded, cellist Clive Greensmith and violinist Martin Beaver began looking for their next artistic adventure. Their collaboration in 2014 with pianist Jon Kimura Parker marked the birth of the Montrose Trio, a group whose performance Tuesday night as part of the Buffalo Chamber Music Society’s current season was eagerly awaited and worth the wait.
Their program featured works by Ludwig van Beethoven and Johannes Brahms that were featured in previous sessions by other ensembles plus a lovely score by Joaquin Turina which made its first appearance at Kleinhans Music Hall on Tuesday night.
Turina’s Trio in B minor (op. 76) is a three-movement piece that Parker, in a pre-concert talk, had likened to a well made “amuse bouche,” an appetizer for the main course. Its inclusion also lightened the program somewhat, serving as a contrast for the weightier Germanic fare of Beethoven’s Trio in E flat major (op. 1, no. 1) and Brahms’ Trio in B major (op. 8).
French influences hinted at in the first movement of Turina’s trio (a la Claude Debussy and/or Maurice Ravel) bore witness to the cultural cross fertilization going on in the early 20th century between France and Spain but the last two sections of the work exposed more of the Spanish flair to good effect.
The Beethoven trio was the main focus during the first half of the concert. This early work in the canon had some of the features which could be traced back to Franz Joseph Haydn’s repertoire but it stood apart from that catalog by virtue of Beethoven’s treatment of the instruments, allowing them room to breathe on their own instead of running the violin and cello lines in tandem.
After the intermission, it was time for the piece Kimura Parker referred to as one of the great chamber music works of all time, Brahms’ trio.
This score was originally composed in 1854 but recomposed in 1889. While it occasionally shows up on programs in its more youthful guise, the reworking of the piece is the one most performed and the one that the Montrose Trio chose to cover for the concert.
The resultant score is truly a masterwork – a blend of power, muscle, and grace that needed the touch of the mature composer as a corrective to the talented but untried effort of his youth.
The Montrose Trio did it proud, supplying every ounce of artistry in delivering an impressive performance that would have made the master happy.