The Sunday afternoon Coleman Chamber Music concert proved a rare bird--a program designed to elicit thought, rather than push-button ovations from those gathered in Beckman Auditorium, Caltech.
Clarinetist Richard Stoltzman, violist Walter Trampler and pianist Lee Luvisi worked as a trio only twice (and again in encore), offering an unflashy work by Mozart (K. 498) and half of Max Bruch's undeservedly neglected Eight Pieces, Opus 83. Throughout, the sense of ensemble and the quality of individual performance remained unflagging.
But these opening and closing selections were hardly the highlights. Those came pre- and post-intermission, when Trampler and Stoltzman played the final chamber musings of, respectively, Shostakovich and Brahms.
Shostakovich's Viola Sonata (1975) proved, in fact, to be the composer's valedictory musical statement. All too rarely encountered, the subtly carved 30-minute work speaks eloquently and forcefully about the politically troubled, roller-coaster career of a very gifted--if inconsistent--artist. Trampler was equal to the task of communicating the searching, meditative melancholy of this surprisingly accessible, profoundly moving piece.