Renowned trio to play 3 concerts
By Ruth Bingham
Special to The Advertiser
The longer a chamber group has been performing, the more likely new members have joined, sometimes completely supplanting the founding musicians.
One notable exception is the Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson Trio: Pianist Joseph Kalichstein, violinist Jaime Laredo and cellist Sharon Robinson have been playing together for 33 years, since their debut in January 1977, at the White House for the Jimmy Carter inauguration.
The trio maintains a heavy touring schedule throughout the U.S. and globally, from Japan and South Korea to Australia and all over Europe, Helsinki to Barcelona. They will be spending barely a week in Hawai'i, presenting three concerts, one each in Honolulu, on Maui and on the Big Island, before flying back to snow-packed Washington, D.C.
In spite of their constant travel, the musicians also maintain active separate careers as performers and teachers, Laredo and Robinson on the faculty of the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University, and Kalichstein at the Juilliard School of Music in New York.
The trio's awards, too many to list here, include one named after them: the Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson International Trio Award, established by the Chamber Music Society of Detroit in 2003 to encourage promising young piano trios.
When the trio celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2007, the music world celebrated as well, with works dedicated to them and a concert presented by Carnegie Hall. As part of the anniversary, the trio released a CD called "Legacies," of piano trios composed expressly for them.
In Honolulu, the trio will be performing yet another work composed for them, "A Child's Reliquary" by Richard Danielpour, a highly respected American composer born in 1956.
Early on, Danielpour abandoned the mid-20th-century's serial technique for a more eclectic, distinctly American style that draws on influences as divergent as jazz, the Beatles, Bernstein, Britten, Copland, and authors Hemingway and Whitman. His style is sometimes characterized as "neo-Romantic" because of its sweeping gestures, melodic beauty and arresting rhythms.
As Danielpour explains, music must have "an immediate visceral impact and elicit a visceral response."
He has built a strong reputation for music that is as appealing to audiences as to musicians, writing works for orchestra, voices and chamber music on topics such as "Urban Dances," "Zodiac Variations" and "Spirits in the Well," the latter on a text by Toni Morrison.
Of "A Child's Reliquary," Danielpour wrote, "I know of nothing more tragic or heartbreaking than the death of a child. The inspiration ... came from the untimely and tragic death of the 18-month-old son of Carl and Susan St. Clair." The work was written expressly for the Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson Trio and is dedicated to the memory of Cole Carsan St. Clair.
The Honolulu program also includes works from the beginning of Beethoven's career and the end of Schubert's life.
Beethoven's four-movement Trio No. 4 in B-flat, Op. 11 (1798) is nicknamed "Gassenhauer" (street tune) because the final movement is a set of lighthearted variations on "Pria ch'io l'impegno ..." (Before I start work, I need something to eat), a song from a wildly popular opera that premiered the previous year, "L'amor marinaro ..." (Nautical love, or The Corsair) by Joseph Weigl.
The program ends with Schubert's Trio No. 2 in E-flat, Op. 100 (D.929), composed for the wedding of his close friend, Josef von Spaun, and completed in 1828, the year he died. The piece offers a tantalizing glimpse into the music Schubert might have composed had he lived beyond his 31 years: It employs a number of techniques that became widespread later in the century, including modulations into remote keys, themes from folk music, and a cyclic structure (recalling themes from earlier movements).