Both the design and the content of this program were intriguing.
It was made up of two romantic works, one a repertory staple and the other seldom ever heard, with a contemporary work in the middle which was sneakily innovative but not in the least radical.
There was a slight tendency for the Meadowmount Trio to overplay in the Opera House's lively acoustical environment. This occasionally resulted in a loss of presence by the cello, and intonation experienced a couple of edgy moments.
But in general the interpretations were well conceived, and the performances were expressive and entirely professional.
The virtually unknown 1908 Trio No. 2 in B-Flat, Op. 65 by Bostonian Arthur Foote (1853-1937) has all the virtues of a repertory work. As a matter of fact, so does his 1882 Trio No. 1.
The Trio No. 2 includes attractive thematic material, very effective contrasts in emotional content, particularly effective use of key modulations around the music's structural seams.
The artists brought out the contrasting aggressive and contemplative qualities of the opening Allegro very dramatically, with a sensitive diminution of energy at the close.
The plaintive slow movement was a delight, its lovely modulation into the middle section exceptionally well done, and in the turbulent Finale the stalking piano figurations supported the surging melodic lines very well.
Ned Rorem's 1990 "Spring Music" is an extended, five-movement work of wide ranging character and an often almost pictorial type of expression, although it is not overtly programmatic.
Rorem's music is contemporary but not avant garde or experimental. One of this work's most ingratiating qualities is the composer's consistent ability to find imaginative new, easily assimilable ways of engaging or pitting these three instruments against each other.
In traversing its five movements the Meadowmount Trio gave us music which was gentle and decorative, angry and dissonant, improvisational in a broad, probing manner, just plain pretty, and in the final Presto nervous and scurrying.
The stratospheric harmonics which closed the third movement and the stentorian conclusion of the Finale were among many specific high points, all played with a palpable commitment.
Brahms' marvelous Trio No. 1 in B Major, Op. 8 made a very satisfying final work.
It was given a warm hearted, intensely passionate performance, including a particularly deft articulation of the Scherzo and a profoundly broad, rich traversal of the tenderly lyrical slow movement.
Violinist Stephen Shipps, cellist Owen Carman and pianist Eric Larsen performing works of Foote, Rorem and Brahms.
Monday evening in the Lancaster Opera House.