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Seen and Heard International Recital Review

Handel, Hummel, Lenz, Kodaly: Langroise Trio (Geoffrey Trabichoff, violin; David Johnson, viola; and Samuel Smith, cello), Albertson College, Caldwell, Idaho, USA, 4 May, 2005 (PS)

On Wednesday May 4, 2005, The Langroise Trio gave a brilliant recital before a capacity house at the Langroise Recital Hall at Albertson College of Idaho (“ACI” to us locals) in Caldwell, Idaho. The program included Handel’s Trio Sonata No.2 in G, the Trio in G by Johann Hummel, the Duo for two Cellos by local composer Mark Lenz — for this work Mr. Smith was joined by Julia Pope, cello — and finally Zoltan Kodaly’s Serenade For Two Violins And Viola, in an arrangement for violin, viola, and cello by violist Johnson.

The Handel was an effective warm-up piece, played without harpsichord but with humor and grace; the rhythm in the Rondeau movement was particularly sensitive, not too bouncy nor too plain (I’ve heard it from others both ways). These people accomplished a miracle with the Hummel, convincing us that Hummel was a great composer. I am amazed at how they found so much drama, grace, and interest in this music. The jokey quotation from Mozart’s Magic Flute in the last movement was handled just right, not too obvious nor too subtle. The players achieved a fine sense of ensemble, of dialogue between them, which drew the listener deeply into the music.

The Lenz work consisted mostly of two interweaving melodic lines with brief episodes of pizzicato and tremolo. At its most lyrical it was worthy of Henry Cowell at his best. The Kodaly transcription was masterfully done, probably improving the work. Two violins and a viola will inevitably provide a congested sound, whereas here the musical ideas were effectively expanded into additional registers to very good effect. The music remained interesting throughout, with the episodes of rousing peasant dance played with a genuine sense of enjoyment.

The next two concerts in this series in June which will be devoted to the five Mozart violin concertos and Sinfonia Concertante with Trabichoff as violin soloist, joined by David Johnson, violist, and accompanied by the Boise Baroque ensemble. This will be a preview of Mr. Trabichoff’s German tour this summer where the Mozart works will be joined by the Elgar Violin Concerto.

Paul Shoemaker

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