Incandescent Performances from Faust, Melnikov, and Queyras at Princeton

Although retired since 2014, I still relish opportunities to teach, write, and share opinions.
Renowned artists Isabelle Faust (violin), Alexander Melnikov (piano), and Jean-Guihen Queyras (cello) gave a splendid recital on February 15, 2024, at Richardson Auditorium, Alexander Hall, Princeton University.
The Program


Piano Trio No. 2 in F Major, Op. 80

Epigrams for piano, violin, and cello (2012)

Trio No. 1 in B Major, Op. 8 (1889 version)

Princeton audiences are once again lucky to have a treasure like the Princeton University Concerts. The three international artists this evening electrified their audience with works by Robert Schumann, Elliot Carter, and Johannes Brahms. Their Schumann trio was warm, enveloping, captivating, with occasional thrilling outbursts. Program annotator Lucy Kaplan wrote that the piece was of a “quietly joyful atmosphere.” What we heard was much more than that. The trio created a glorious, warm sound, to be sure, but they also were electrifying, causing gooseflesh at times, with their probing sense of drama and panache. 
Next was a piece by Elliot Carter (1908-2012) written in 2012, only months before his death. His Twelve Epigrams were just that, short, witty pieces written with the barest economy. It may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but the audiences here drank it in. If you did not like it, you may rest assured that it was played with faultless splendor. 
During intermission, audience members froliced about, chatting away. They clearly knew each other. One such chat happened next to me. One of the two men said he didn’t much like the Carter, but awaited the Brahms, while the other man said that he found the Carter to be very fine, saying it might have been the best thing he would hear that night. 
The Brahms trio was very fine indeed, with splendors to burn. Mr. Melnikov created a Canadian forest fire of rapturous pianism one moment, with breathtaking lyricism at another moment. Can anyone play the cello more movingly and with such a sweet tone as Mr. Queyras? Perhaps somewhere, but hard to believe. Ms. Faust bedazzled with her impeccable playing of her violin.
Reveries abounded. Our thoughts, minds, and emotions were lost in waking dreams.
Audience acclaim was profound, calling the trio back for an encore, which, of course, was played magnificently. Stamina on the audience’s part was somewhat limited. After fewer than ten minutes of applause, the audience skipped off into the cold, raw night. 
The 23/24 Season of Princeton University Concerts continues with such artists as Mitsouko Uchida, Jonathan Biss, and the Richardson Chamber Players

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