The Bach Festival Society’s 2016-2017 visiting artist series began on Sunday afternoon with a remarkable performance by Trio Solisti on campus at Tiedtke Concert Hall.
Founded in 2011, the trio consists of Maria Bachmann, violin; Alexis Pia Gerlach, cello; and Fabio Bidini, piano. With thoughtful interpretations of classical and Romantic selections, Trio Solisti offered a healthy dose of emotion coupled with technical skill. The was the trio’s Winter Park debut was amazing to behold.
A supreme grasp of Romantic-period expressivity suffused Chausson’s Trio in G minor, Op. 3, and Brahms’ Trio in B, Op. 8. The subjective qualities of the unspeakable were brought out palpably through the trio’s intense lyricism. Phrases were shaped with sensibility by all three members, which helped propell the implicit narrative of the music with coherence and poignancy. The objective abstractness of the music was dispelled through the trio’s incredible sense of drama and storytelling.
Nineteenth-century French composer Ernest Chausson’s trio was a revelation; in her opening remarks, Bachmann shared that the piece has fallen into obscurity. A somber dirge-esque theme opened the piece, with a wailing vibrato from the violin. An abrupt tempo surge took the initial sobriety to a tempestuous mood, which was soon assuaged by calmer episodes. Broken chords from the piano provided skittish accompaniment to the melodic development from violin and cello. The trio’s interplay was lucid and flexible, with Gothic-horror lyricism.
For Haydn’s Trio in C major, the trio adjusted its dynamics to match the composer’s symmetrical structures. Bidini’s assertive pace relaxed for the Andante second movement, with the trio taking gradual decreases in tempo at the end of each cadence. Bachmann’s delicate staccato main theme phrasing was especially appreciated. But the up-tempo finale was the most attention-grabbing, with sudden stormy shifts in dynamics. The louder low-register unisons between violin and cello toward the end were most effective, though promptly offset by the piano’s perky ascending motif.
The Brahms—the longest of the three selections in the program—was effusive yet sincere. The violin and cello unisons projected a rich sound. In the louder moments, though, the trio tended to give away their top loudness a bit too soon, making it hard to crescendo further up to the reaches of the more climactic moments. But then again, the lyrical section of the scherzo was superb in the dynamic balance between all three instruments.
Assisting the much-needed resurrection of the Chausson, Trio Solisti recorded the piece for a recent Bridge Records release. After the performance, the members signed copies of the album in the lobby for purchasing patrons.
The 2016-2017 season of the Bach Festival Society will continue this weekend with musical performances of Saint-Saëns and Puccini. The set will also include contemporary composer Paul Moravec’s Light Shall Lift Us, which is a response to the Pulse shootings in Orlando last June. For more details, visit bachfestivalflorida.org.