Kalichstein/Laredo/ Robinson Trio | Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Kalichstein/Laredo/ Robinson Trio 

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KALICHSTEIN/LAREDO/ROBINSON TRIO

Like virtually all major orchestras and chamber groups, the Kalichstein/Laredo/Robinson Trio is by and large a curator of the time-proven classical canon. As such the threesome is competing for listeners who already have access to laudable performances of the standards. The trio's members--pianist Joseph Kalichstein, violinist Jaime Laredo, and cellist Sharon Robinson (Laredo's wife and duet partner)--are accomplished veteran instrumentalists capable of sparks and sparkles in a live recital, but that still might not compel nondevotees to sit through another rendition of a Brahms trio. Fortunately, as the trio has become more eloquent and versatile over its two-decade-long partnership, composers have begun to write for it, possibly giving a new lease on life to a moribund genre. Works commissioned from Ellen Taaffe Zwilich, Leon Kirchner, and Arvo Part, included on the trio's latest CD, Legacies (Arabesque), offer fresh ideas for this instrumental combination; and the trio's precise, impassioned playing argues for a hearing in a concert hall. But presenters, second-guessing the tastes of their core patrons, seem reluctant to schedule a sampler. Indeed, on the trio's tour this season only Kirchner's Piano Trio no. 2 and Part's Adagio will be performed, each sandwiched between masterworks. Surprisingly, neither is on the program at Mandel Hall--you'd think a university crowd would be receptive to recent works. The excuse here seems to be the milestone-anniversary hook. In celebration of the 20th anniversary of its debut (at the White House), the trio will also honor the centennial of the death of Brahms (Piano Trio no. 1 in B Major) and the 150th anniversary of the death of Mendelssohn (Piano Trio no. 2 in C Minor). Beethoven's Trio in D Major rounds out the status-quo program, which will reaffirm the trio's place in the top echelon of traditional chamber players but will not reveal its high reputation among today's composers. Friday, 8 PM, Mandel Hall, University of Chicago, 1131 E. 57th; 773-702-8068. TED SHEN

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo by Christian Steiner.

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