Aram Khachaturian (1903-1978)
Beethoven's Clarinet Trio in B-flat, op. 11, began very well. The opening Allegro con brio movement had intense contrasts between brisk and slow, chorale-like material. Pianist Danielle DeSwert, with a sparkling tone and cool demeanor, provided true clarity and an exceptionally supreme control over all voices. This trio, heard on a beautiful May afternoon, reminded one of the fun and charm of Mozart. Unfortunately, the pitch of Evan Solomon’s clarinet began and continued to rise from the second movement of the Beethoven through most of the rest of the performance; adding to the intonation problems was cellist Kacy Clopton’s tendency to play on the low side.
The full character of the first two movements of the Quartet for Clarinet, Violin, Cello, and Piano by Paul Hindemith was not achieved because individual motifs were not fully shaped. This caused the texture to sound overly complex and somewhat incoherent. Additionally, noticing a problem in the second movement, violinist Sarah D’Angelo went ahead and moved up to the high pitch of the clarinetist, which left the pitch of the piano strikingly low. Though, all was corrected in the final movement, which had a prancing, jolly nature to it. This final movement ended with a brief toccata.