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MUSIC REVIEW : Vienna String Trio Opens Guild Concerts Season

November 06, 1987|HERBERT GLASS

The Vienna String Trio, its members being the concertmaster and two fellow principals of the Vienna Symphony, opened the new season of Music Guild Concerts at the Wilshire Ebell Theatre on Wednesday.

Violinist Jan Pospichal, violist Wolfgang Klos and cellist Wilfried Rehm constitute a thin-toned ensemble that seems to aim no higher than getting the music across without major mishap.

Wednesday's program began with the tautly dramatic G-minor Trio from Beethoven's Opus 9. The playing proved clean enough with regard to the notes, but deficient in dynamism. Of the young Beethoven's bite and thrust there was barely a suggestion.

After neatly cruising through the Serenade in C of Ernst von Dohnanyi (which impresses most when sounding like Dvorak, as it does in its theme-and-variations fourth movement), the performers gave us their thoughts on the subject of Mozart's Divertimento in E-flat, K. 563, the very heart and soul of the slender repertory for this combination of instruments.

An atmosphere of bland--one might say dead--calm prevailed, relieved only by such irritants as Pospichal's penchant for unseemly, sudden deceleration and the ensemble's infatuation with fadeaway pianissimos.

On the whole, Mozart was poorly served, the Viennese players providing neither the energy, stylistic awareness or solidity of tone required to give one of his grandest (and longest) chamber works the illumination it deserved.

Oddly, the music was briefly brought to life in the adagio movement, where ensemble tone seemed to grow fuller and the rhythms to be more sharply projected. There was even a nod in the direction of l8th-Century style, the violinist attacking his trills from the upper note--a practice disdained elsewhere in the Divertimento.

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