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A SISTER ACT PLAYS BEYOND ITS FAME

They don't get the publicity of the Beaux Arts or the Golub-Kaplan-Carr trios, but the McDermott Trio (violinist Kerry, cellist Maureen and pianist Anne-Marie) play with an infectious vitality.

Tuesday evening's large audience in Kleinhans' Mary Seaton Room for the Buffalo Chamber Music Society program stood and cheered the closing Mendelssohn Trio in D minor, Op. 49.

They should have done the same for the opening Beethoven Trio in E-Flat, Op. 1 No. 1. For my money, however, it was in Beethoven that the McDermott sisters came closest to achieving the full potential in the music.

The McDermotts' playing had an exquisite lightness and a captivating expressivity, with very graceful phrasing. In the faster movements it exuded a sense of amiably controlled abandon. Lyrical lines were firmly etched yet neither rigid nor formal.

While the three artists are ideally matched in temperament and musical philosophy, there is little doubt that pianist Anne-Marie's marvelously fluid, clean, excitingly animated and delicately chiseled piano lines are the engine that powers this trio.

In the unfinished 1861 Trio in D Major by Borodin, the McDermotts slipped easily into the romantic mode, applying excellent thrust to the tempestuous first movement, and supporting the central Romanze's sentimental then impassioned string rhapsody extremely well over the surging arpeggiated filigree in the piano, down to the unique whispered chordal coda.

In his Trio in D minor Mendelssohn gave us two of his most seductive themes in the opening Allegro and the Andante, and one of his prototypical great Scherzos, this one reminiscent of the "Midsummer Night's Dream." The ensemble caught both the romantic drift of the opening cello theme and the gravity at the center of the music.

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