In top form, the Beaux Arts Trio returned to Los Angeles Tuesday night. Celebrating its 30th anniversary--the ensemble made its debut at Tanglewood in August, 1955--the trio offered a festive but serious program in Wadsworth Theater in Westwood.
For followers of the ensemble, this had to be a joyous and sentimental occasion. The trio found all the charms and wit within the confines of Mozart's K. 564, probed the depressions and delivered the heights of Shostakovich's wartime Trio No. 2 (1944), and smelled the flowers in Mendelssohn's buoyant D-Minor Trio.
It was an occasion of special and memorable moments: the pristine pleasures of the variations-movement in Mozart's irrepressible final trio; the grim and grief-stricken beginning and resigned close of the Shostakovich piece; the Romantic innocence which marks all parts of Mendelssohn's familiar Trio.
Menahem Pressler remains the core member of this trio; his faceted virtuosity, penetrating pianism and undampable spirits inform and illuminate all of its performances. Of course, his colleagues, violinist Isidore Cohen and cellist Bernard Greenhouse, operate on a similar level of intensity and accomplishment; indeed, it is their musical solidity which underpin his flights of inspiration.