BY JOHN FLEMING
Times Performing Arts Critic
One of the highlights of last year's classical concert season was violinist Maria Bachmann's recital at the Museum of Fine Arts, where she brought virtuosic drama to sonatas by Brahms, Enescu and Ravel. Now the museum is bringing back Bachmann with her Trio Solisti, which also includes pianist Jon Klibonoff and cellist Alexis Pia Gerlach.
The piano trio has been together for eight years, and Bachmann finds that it is a good complement to her solo playing.
"We chose the name Trio Solisti partially because it means a trio of soloists, and all three of us do solo work,'' she said. "And there is a soloistic quality in the piano trio repertoire. You do, as a trio, have to come together and be a cohesive unit and blend together, but it's not blending in the same way that a string quartet would blend their sound because of the homogeneity of the instruments."
At the museum on Sunday, Trio Solisti will play Mendelssohn's Trio in C Minor, Beethoven's Archduke Trio and Paul Schoenfield's Cafe Music, which is on the group's latest CD.
Bachmann and the trio have a knack for getting involved with high-profile projects. They, along with clarinet player David Krakauer, premiered and made the first recording of Paul Moravec's Shakespeare-inspired Tempest Fantasy, which won the Pulitzer Prize for music in 2004.
In February, Bachmann and Klibonoff premiered Philip Glass' Sonata for Violin and Piano, and they'll be recording it in October for the composer's Orange Mountain Music label. The three-movement, 23-minute work is a rarity for Glass, whose minimalist music is mainly heard in opera and film these days.
"He has never written a violin-piano sonata or even any violin-piano pieces, so it is kind of a new genre for him,'' Bachmann said. "He's really trying new things these days. He has very strong roots in the classical tradition and was influenced by sonatas that he grew up listening to like Brahms and Faure and Schubert.''
The trio has been busy this summer. It was featured at the Telluride MusicFest in Colorado. But Bachmann sees the recession starting to affect concert bookings.
"I haven't noticed big changes for myself personally, but have been told by my management that there are some presenters who are either cutting back on the number of concerts that they're doing in a season, or trying to negotiate fees at slightly lower rates than before,'' she said. "I think eventually everybody is going to feel the pinch.''
John Fleming can be reached at email@example.com or (727) 893-8716. He blogs at Critics Circle at blogs.tampabay.com/arts.