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MUSIC REVIEWS : Fiery Arden Trio at Schoenberg Hall

April 12, 1993|HERBERT GLASS

All that was lacking in the Arden Trio's splendidly alert showing in Schoenberg Hall at UCLA, Saturday, was a second major work to complement the program's bona fide masterpiece, Beethoven's Trio in C minor, Opus 1, No. 3.

Listeners could nonetheless be grateful for the favor of hearing the lesser-known of Mendelssohn's two trios, his Opus 66 (also in C minor), delivered with such vitality and flawless balances that without the players eradicating all trace of its Victorian gentility it still seemed more than usually substantial.

The New York-based Arden Trio is an ideal chamber group in that none of its members slavishly follows the other: Violin (Suzanne Ornstein) and cello (Clay Ruede) exchanges never sound like mirror images of each other. Rather, there's just enough of an individual slant--a bit of rubato, some personal dynamic twist--to keep the music mobile and interesting.

And in pianist Thomas Schmidt they have support, anchor and, when necessary, a star. He is a pianist of astonishing energy and intelligence who, as shown in the still startling variations movement of the early Beethoven trio, can project delicacy of touch and interpretive wit as readily as thunderous strength.

The program was rounded out, if that's the expression, by the Trio of Charles Wuorinen, in its local premiere.

Written for the Arden Trio in 1984, it is an exceedingly--perhaps unnecessarily--agitated, aggressive study in rhythmic complexity whose principal virtue, on first encounter, was its brevity.

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