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Inscape Chamber Music Project at NGA

Aram Khachaturian
Aram Khachaturian (1903-1978)
Members of the Inscape Chamber Music Project performed a thoughtful program of chamber works by Khachaturian, Beethoven, and Hindemith at the National Gallery of Art on Sunday evening. The gem of the program was the Trio for Piano, Violin, and Clarinet of Khachaturian. Played with care and flawless ensemble, fresh colors and natural flourishes leapt out of the texture. The final Moderato movement of this work, filled with Armenian folk material, progressed through a variety of instrumental combinations and themes. The moment most reminiscent of Armenian folk music (I am not claiming any expertise here) occured when the clarinet and violin unexpectedly began an angular tune in unison, which was accompanied lightly by the piano. For a time near the end of the movement, the work morphed into a compelling chaconne.

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.


Anonymous said...

I went to this concert, and the clarinet playing of mr. solomon was sublime. He has a world class tone and amazing direction in the phrase. I am a professioanl clarinet player as well. I did not notice him playing out of tune. Im not sure what you mean by "did not fully develop motives" that sounds like some jargon. Rod_Rubber.

Anonymous said...

It should be noted that Rod_Rubber is, in fact, Evan Solomon.