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Music Reviews : Pasquier Trio in Concert at Caltech

November 18, 1987

The Paris-based Pasquier Trio spared neither itself nor the Coleman Concerts audience that attended its concert in Beckman Auditorium at Caltech on Sunday afternoon.

The demanding program had as its corner movements, so to speak, a pair of Mozart's dour arrangements of fugues from Bach's "Well-Tempered Clavier" and the cranky String Trio, Opus 45, of Arnold Schoenberg. These enclosed the one lightweight work on the agenda, Mozart's seraphic Duo in G for violin and viola, K. 423.

In sum, hardly a sunny Sunday afternoon's diversion in Pasadena. But, in the expert hands of violinist Regis Pasquier, violist Bruno Pasquier and cellist Roland Pidoux, the program proved consistently engrossing.

Schoenberg wrote his Trio in 1946, in the aftermath of a near-fatal heart attack. The 18-minute work, in a single, harrowing movement, alternates patches of extreme agitation with dark murmurings.

The Pasquier Trio played it masterfully, creating not merely coherence but gripping drama out of its seemingly disjunct keenings, squeakings and murmurings, relieved only by the occasional shred of blighted lyricism. Schoenberg's intimate terrors and public outcries were projected with equal sympathy and, when appropriate, with the lush, Brahmsian sonorities that were the composer's ideal.

Mozart had earlier been delivered with elegance of tone, flawless mechanics and, in the Duo, great good humor.

SI--HERBERT GLASS

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