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Locals stage exceptional show for Chamber Music Society

Posted 7:40am on Sunday, Oct. 21, 2012

The Chamber Music Society of Fort Worth opened its season last month with an exceptional program by a new group of visitors from Houston, the Miro String Quartet. On Saturday a more familiar gathering of musicians provided another felicitous afternoon.

Appearing in the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth were violinist Robert Davidovici, long a veteran of Fort Worth programs; violinist Michael Shih, the concertmaster of the Fort Worth Symphony; violist Susan Dubois of the University of North Texas, another local veteran; and cellist Andres Diaz of Southern Methodist University, a newcomer to the society. A guest was pianist Lucille Chung, no stranger to the area.

Their program included music from early in the careers of Beethoven and Mendelssohn and a quartet from Haydn’s maturity. Fine pieces all.

The opener was Beethoven’s Piano Trio in C minor, the third work in his Opus 1. Probably no composer matured as quickly as Beethoven. There were those, such as Mozart and Mendelssohn, who composed at a younger age, but Beethoven burst onto the stage as a full-blown genius, with music that’s still played today.

The Piano Trio in C minor is a good example. It’s a large and powerful work that’s as delightful as some of his more famous later compositions. Chung, Davidovici and Diaz opened with a bold, propulsive allegro con brio that was as full of life as that tempo-character designation demands. A singing andante, notable for some lovely playing by Diaz; a chipper, piano-strong minuetto; and a very forceful finale with a sudden quiet ending rounded out the work.

Haydn’s Rider Quartet, so named because of imagined hoof beats in the final movement, was sheer musical pleasure. Davidovici, Shih, Dubois and Diaz gave a performance that was full of personality -- Haydn’s peculiar opening brought smiles, his final allegro con brio raised the spirits.

Mendelssohn’s Piano Quartet in F minor, written when he was 14 years old, is a somewhat lesser masterpiece, but Chung, Davidovici, Dubois and Diaz made a good case for it with a performance that was scaled up almost to concerto level, with both drama and high spirits as endearing factors.

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