The great 19th-Century piano quintets by Schumann, Brahms and Dvorak enjoy great popularity on record, serving as ideal pairings for big-name string quartets and pianists who share the same label. In concert halls, however, these works appear all too rarely.
One must be grateful, then, to the Chilingirian Quartet for enlisting the services of Panayis Lyras on Saturday in Wadsworth Theater, for a crisp, satisfying reading of Schumann's stirring E-flat Piano Quintet. If the performance failed to uncover anything new, the players nonetheless delivered the music with energy and conviction and an unerring sense of ensemble.
Even in as lush a work as this, it's easy for the piano to overwhelm the strings. But, thanks to Lyras' tasteful restraint (or, perhaps due to the deadening acoustics of the hall), the quintet emerged in nearly perfect balance.
Earlier, the Chilingirians--violinists Levon Chilingirian and Mark Butler, violist Csaba Erdelyi and cellist Philip de Groote--tackled a serene quartet by Mozart and an uneven one by Elgar.