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Choral and Vocal
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CHAMBER REVIEW
Amaryllis Trio / Saturday, September 10, 2016
Lisa Doyle, violin; Wendy Reynolds, cello; Sonia Morse Tubridy, piano

Amaryllis Trio

BEETHOVEN AND LALO MUSIC FLOWER IN AMARYLLIS TRIO'S HOUSE CONCERT

by Terry McNeill
Saturday, September 10, 2016

When driving into Guerneville Sept. 9 for the Amaryllis Trio’s house concert, a massive backlog of cars presaged a jammed musical afternoon. But for the cognoscenti the Trio’s music upstaged the big jazz festival crowds, and rewarded the 25 assembled in Sonia’s Tubridy’s charming hillside home with music of Beethoven, Lalo, Mendelssohn and Haydn.

It was a benefit for the River Choir, directed for many years by Ms. Tubridy.

Dramatic highlights included the Beethoven G Major Trio, Op. 1, No 2, and the opening movement of Lalo’s C Minor Trio, Op. 7. Beethoven’s virtuosity was on display in this early piece that still has echoes of Haydn’s 30-plus trios, but the creative counterpoint individually stamps the work. Ms. Tubridy’s pianism seemed to envelope the string instruments, almost swelling on some notes, and was the voice leader.

The Largo Con Espressione and the Presto finale were well played, the first having a lovely slow dance duo from Ms. Tubridy and violinist Lisa Doyle, and the second full of repeated notes and short, snazzy phrases. The musicians were able to find a long thematic line in the busy movement, though some rhythmic instability was heard. Beethoven never seems to let go of one cadenza when another catches his fancy, and the Amaryllis caught and portrayed the excitement of the 1795 work.

The opening Allegro movement from Lalo’s early C Minor Trio (Op.7) featured cellist Wendy Reynolds’ suave introductory phrasing and a march theme in the piano part that frequently varied the tempo. Ms. Doyle’s tone was rich and was penetrating in the high register, and the movement’s powerful conclusion was preceded by the romantic ardor of the slow movement of Mendelssohn’s ever-popular D Minor Trio, Op. 49. Here a leisurely tempo was adopted with minimal ritards and the string instruments took away the big themes from the piano. Such glorious themes, and the Trio played them with gentle luftpausen and subsequent handoffs from piano to violin to finally cello.

Haydn’s E Minor Trio (Hob. XV 12) opened the program in an unfussy performance full of rhythmic contrasts. The piano part carried the themes with strong low register string playing and the Andante had a nod towards Mozart’s trios. In the concluding Rondo the Amaryllis shared a playful approach to joyous music, with Ms. Reynolds providing deft support and careful attention to a big descending passage for all three players near the end. The sonic mix was good, with here and there an underlined dissonance. Dissonance in Haydn?

Piazzolla’s short Verano Porteńo from the celebrated “Four Seasons in Buenos Aires” (1965) concluded the concert to acclaim. As with most Piazzolla works the tango rhythms and inflections can be treacherous for multiple performers, but the Amaryllis met the challenges with aplomb.

Classical Sonoma reviews rarely mention a concert’s extra-music aspects, but at this West County event the gratis intermission food was special, led by apple crisps made the same morning from local fruit. A great combo with strong coffee.