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Chamber
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Recital
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Symphony
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Choral and Vocal
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by Pamela Hicks Gailey
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Symphony
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by Terry McNeill
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Chamber
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Chamber
TANGO IMMERSION IN MILL VALLEY CONCERT
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CHAMBER REVIEW

Trio Navarro

TRIO NAVARRO IN FINE FORM

by Terry McNeill
Sunday, May 25, 2008

It was business as usual for the Trio Navarro on May 25, as they closed their season with a splendid concert for a small audience in Sonoma State's Ives 119 hall.

The Navarro programmed two popular piano trios with a less-familiar Fanny Mendelssohn-Hensel work, the Op. 11 Trio in D Minor. As cellist Joy Rachuy Brindel remarked, all three trios were in D minor, and all ended in D Major.

The Mendelssohn-Hensel Trio is a dramatic work, restless and assertive, and full of Mendelssohnian harmonic progressions and chords. The Navarro gave it a good ride, with Brindel's cello leading the way. Plaintive themes abound, and the long piano introduction in the Lied movement led to a mazurka-like dance of rich beauty. As in past concerts in Ives 119, the acoustics below mezzo piano were fine, but when musical volume was demanded, the instrumental tones became harsh and indistinct.

The Op. 120 Trio by Faur' began with urbane and smooth playing. Violinist Roy Malan, in his reserved way, latched onto the languorous theme with elegance. In the Andantino, pianist Marilyn Thompson had the leading role, the movement ending with eerie dissonances and a lovely cello-violin unison duet. The finale, Allegro Vivo, begins without the familiar Faur' arpeggios, but it soon settles down into the French master's idiom. The performance was fluent, warm and evocative.

Robert Schumann's 1847 Trio, Op. 63, closed the program with loads of brooding passion. Ms. Thompson's descending left-hand tremolo figures had just enough 'rumble' to set off the prominent cello line, and the ensemble playing was surely integrated. The Navarro is not a note-perfect group, such as the late lamented Beaux Arts, nor is it three individual virtuosi trying to connect. Instead, it always delivers what the music calls for, and it tackles many unfamiliar works each season, to the benefit of local chamber music lovers. The Navarro clearly enjoys performing its discoveries.