Goldstein-Peled-Fiterstein Trio offers refined and varied artistry

Sat Feb 01, 2014 at 12:25 pm

By Gerald Fisher

The Gpldstein-Peled-Fiterstein Trio performed Friday night at Mandel Hall for the University of Chicago Presents series.
The Goldstein-Peled-Fiterstein Trio performed Friday night at Mandel Hall for the University of Chicago Presents series.

The Goldstein-Peled-Fiterstein Trio takes its name from the three young artists who make up the unusual ensemble of piano, cello and clarinet. Their debut concert with the University of Chicago Presents Friday evening at Mandel Hall was notable for a varied program of solo and ensemble pieces as well as for a quality of performance at the highest level.

Opening the program the charming and inconsequential Trio Op, 11 by Beethoven, which gave the artists the opportunity to shine individually and as a group in a flavorful and good-natured warmup. The piano of Alon Goldstein glittered stylishly in the first movement and in the second movement Adagio supported the suave and lyrical tones of Amit Peled’s cello and Alex Fiterstein’s clarinet. The piece concluded with a rollicking set of variations played with humor and virtuosic flair.

Liszt’s Paraphrase on Themes from Verdi’s Aida is a short meditation for solo piano on two themes from the opera – the sacred dance and the duet finale.  Liszt packed a wide variety of emotion into the piece’s ten minutes, ranging from powerful dramatics to filigrees of delicacy and tenderness. Goldstein mastered all the technical challenges, and managed the thunderous sections without bombast in a very effective performance.

Debussy’s First Rhapsody for clarinet and piano provided an ideal showcase for the refined and sensitive clarinet of Fiterstein. The wide tonal range of the piece as well as its playfulness were richly captured in an idiomatic performance. The piano projected an almost orchestral tapestry as background.

The second half of the program was more substantial with deeply committed performances of two masterpieces of chamber music of different eras.

Mark Kopytman, a Ukrainian- Israeli composer who died in 2011, worked closely with the trio and the connection was very evident in the performance by Peled and Goldstein of his Kaddish for cello and piano.

There was a strong bonding between the artists and the emotional core of the piece was laid bare by the intense performance. The work is a highly expressive dialogue and both instrumentalists were on an equal footing as they projected the episodes of conflict, exclamation and fierce rhythms which culminate in an emotive solo cello cadenza (the Kaddish or prayer of mourning) and a long drawn-out cello note that provides a final cadence at the coda.

Brahms wrote his autumnal Clarinet Trio in 1891 for a celebrated clarinetist and the instrument is usually dominant in performance. The restrained clarinet of Fiterstein, however, brought out more of the ensemble nature of the piece with its abstract themes flowing sensitively and expressively from instrument to instrument. The subtle emotions and rhythmic complexity of the three movements were rendered faultlessly by the Trio, bringing to a close a deeply satisfying program.

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