Trio Con Brio Copenhagen Impress the Upper West
Monday night at the popular upper westside Music Mondays series, one of the organizers remarked that sometimes chamber music ensembles from outside this country aren’t as well-known here as they deserve to be. The reverse is also true – and that’s too bad. This particular series devotes itself to community concerts by world-class performers, and Trio Con Brio Copenhagen definitely delivered. There’s an easy explanation for much of this group’s warm chemistry and singleminded approach to the music: violinist Soo-Jin Hong and cellist Soo-kyung Hong are sisters. Rounding out the group, Danish pianist Jens Elvekjaer played with an uncluttered fluidity, sometimes ecstatic, sometimes chillingly dark.
The three pieces on the bill were arranged generously so that each group member could shine. They opened with Haydn’s “Gypsy” Trio in G Major. It’s a ceaselessly pleasant, chipper work, one of Haydn’s literally hundreds like it: a couple of waltz themes, variations and call-and-response and a rondo at the end that gave Elvekjaer a chance to air out his chops with a brief but memorable series of powerhouse, articulated runs. Their next piece, Ravel’s Piano Trio in A Minor was transcendent, moodwise completely the opposite of the breeziness that preceded it. Elkvekjaer launched into its spacious, murkily minimalism with a visceral sense of dread, Frankenstein walking on eggshells. An apprehensive, somewhat manic flurry of strings was the first of many moments for the cellist to dig in and match the piano’s ambience goosebump for goosebump. Even the more lively second movement was only a respite from the distant, quietly resounding low-register motifs that took it down and out with a white-knuckle intensity. Has this group recorded this? They ought to.
They closed with a warmly rippling take on Tschaikovsky’s Piano Trio in A Minor, Op. 50, a showcase this time for the violin, which gets a few solo passages to build suspense or shift the mood in one way or another, and made the most of all of them. It’s classic Tschaikovsky: wounded angst peering out from behind the comfortable, nocturnal swells, a somewhat sad, courtly dance and a conclusion marked “lugubre.” This particular version wasn’t lugubrious, though – it was downright haunting, even though the composer almost completely sidesteps brooding minor-key Russian tones in favor of more comfortable central European colors. Music Mondays’ next concert is November 7 at 7:30 PM at Advent/Broadway Church, 2504 Broadway at 93rd St., featuring the reliably adventurous Miro Quartet.
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