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MUSIC REVIEW

Trio and Guest Make a Strong Foursome

March 18, 1997|DANIEL CARIAGA

The already top-flight ensemble of violinist Mark Kaplan, cellist Colin Carr and pianist David Golub--which calls itself the Golub-Kaplan-Carr Trio--added an excellent fourth Sunday afternoon with guest violist Michael Tree.

On a Coleman Concerts event in Beckman Auditorium in Pasadena, Tree, a founding member of the Guarneri String Quartet, brought to this group more of the interpretive savvy, technical superiority and effortless blending for which it is known. The resulting performances of Beethoven's String Trio, Opus 9, No. 1, and the Second Piano Quartet of Faure fairly shone with vibrancy and virtuosity.

These readings also seriously probed Beethoven's and Faure's scores; here they were handsomely laid out and transparently realized. In both works, the abundant technical resources of all four players provided a cushion on which the musical materials could be regarded and from which they might be projected. All balances proved operational, and the composers were served.

In between, and without Tree, the three players brought the same ease of technique and thoughtful survey to Mendelssohn's familiar yet ever-challenging D-minor Trio, Opus 49. Oddly, their lack of discomfort with its demands seemed to lower their energy level--this piece may be more thrilling when the players struggle a bit.

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