‘Bargemusic’: From Soulful to Opulent, in a Spirit of Fellowship

From the New York Times

June 12, 2001



argemusic” remains enjoyably buoyant. On Saturday evening the program offered at this bobbing platform beneath the Brooklyn Bridge was of piano quartets by Mozart and Brahms, with Frederic Chiu at the keyboard. These two works were separated by Dohnanyi’s appealing Serenade for string trio, to give Mr. Chiu a rest and focus attention on his excellent colleagues: the violinist Carmit Zori, violist Scott Lee and cellist Peter Wiley.

The players took a little while to get into their stride, but in the slow movement of the Mozart quartet, the one in E flat, Mr. Chiu was keenly alive to harmonic adventures. He also nicely shared the wit of the finale with Ms. Zori, whose expressive bending of intonation had taken a little getting used to.

In the Dohnanyi piece, there was again a cheering sense of collegiality. This is an engaging piece — bumptious in parts, soulful in others — and it was performed in that spirit.

The Brahms C minor Quartet is more, and more was duly made of it. Mr. Chiu’s first chords were a clamorous challenge, and later in the first movement he rose with the music to its high pitches of tension and opulence, admirably joined in both by Ms. Zori. Altogether this was a performance distinguished by chamber- musical companionship.

Mr. Lee, a very fine young musician, showed himself able to follow Ms. Zori like a shadow, phrasing in effortless synchrony with her besides delivering beautiful solos. Mr. Wiley, for more than a decade a member of the Beaux-Arts Trio, was superbly attentive to his fellows. He also made his cello sing out beautifully in his solo at the start of the slow movement.

Splendor heaped on splendor as the performance moved forcefully and passionately to its conclusion against the darkening sky over Lower Manhattan seen through the windows at the back.


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