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Concert Review

Hermitage Piano Trio Gives Expressive, Virtuosic Concert in Palm Beach

Hermitage Piano Trio Gives Expressive, Virtuosic Concert in Palm Beach
By Marcio Bezerra
January 24, 2018

The Flagler Museum Music Series continued Tuesday with an engaging concert by the Hermitage Piano Trio.

Comprised of three superlative musicians — violinist Misha Keylin, cellist Sergey Antonov and pianist Ilya Kazantsev — the ensemble’s mix of passion and technical precision provided a most enjoyable musical experience.

The group opened the program with Piano Trio No. 1 in C minor, Op. 8 by Dmitri Shostakovich. Subtitled Poème, it is a very early work, written before the composer started his studies at the prestigious Moscow Conservatory. It features, nonetheless, trademarks of his mature style, including deep emotional content, jarred rhythmic patterns and a penchant for autobiographical narration.

The Hermitage Trio gave a passionate reading that highlighted cellist Antonov’s expressive cantabile playing.

It was pianist Kazantsev’s turn to shine in the program’s next selection, Ludwig van Beethoven’s Piano Trio no. 4 in D Major, Op. 70.

Written at the same time the master was working on his revolutionary fifth symphony, the so- called Ghost Trio is a superb example of his mature “heroic” period.

From the ironic nods to the tradition represented by his predecessors Joseph Haydn and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart to the stretching of motivic development and form, there are more interesting ideas in this work than in many hours of chamber music written by other composers combined.

Featuring a particularly virtuosic pianistic writing, the trio was performed with aplomb by the Hermitage. Kazantsev held the ensemble together with an approach that favored team playing over soloist ambition. On their part, Keylin and Antonov were formidable partners, interacting with the piano part with expressivity and balance.

It was finally time to turn the spotlight on violinist Keylin, with the program’s closing number, AntonÍn Dvorák’sPiano Trio no. 3, in F minor, Op. 65. Written in 1883, it highlights the violin at many points, with long, gorgeous melodic lines. This is Dvorák at his best: highly expressive and communicative chamber music that betrays symphonic ambitions.

Once more, the Hermitage Trio gave a thrilling performance, finishing a most enjoyable evening on a high note. Their well-deserved standing ovation was obliged with a charming rendition of the movement April from the piano suite The Seasons by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky.

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