As part of the Great Performers Series, the Mutter-Bashmet-Harrell Trio took the stage at Davies last night and gave a memorable performance of three of the five Beethoven trios. In a sense there's little I can say about the evening. It was accepted as a given that this trio, comprised of Anne-Sophie Mutter on violin, Yuri Bashmet on viola and Lynn Harrell on cello would deliver a world-class performance of this material and that's precisely what they did. The two hour concert featured the String Trio in C minor, Opus 9, No. 3; the Serenade in D major for Violin, Viola, and Cello, Opus 8 and the String Trio in E-flat major, Opus 3.
Mutter, looking ravishing as usual in black slacks and an orange top (I'd like to think that's a nod to the world series champs, though I have a difficult time seeing Anne-Sophie as a baseball fan), performed with her usual exquisite control and tone, with a willingness to give it a rough edge where it needed one. She performs with such precision it becomes a task to watch and listen to her at the same time. I actually found it easier at points to close my eyes in order to focus on her playing.
Bashmet is the opposite- sitting almost motionless in his chair throughout the evening, he made his smooth but lush style of playing look not only effortless, but he gave off an air of serenity while performing. Harrell, seated in the middle, was the genial center, at times shooting a playful glance over at Mutter, waiting for her cues, or sometimes just smiling for no reason at all, except that he too, was listening to all of this. Harrell's approach at times mirrored Mutter's aggression, especially in the scherzo of the Op. 8 trio. There was a definite playfulness between Harrell and Mutter, both in demeanor and playing, to the extent the audience tittered more than once during the performance. Charmers, indeed.
Some members of the audience were exceedingly ill-behaved as far as talking, zipping purses, unzipping those same purses and talking some more. Yes, I'm about you in orchestra row O, seat 15- peasant! Other than these annoying people, this was a splendid evening of music- as was to be expected. Now isn't nice to know that there are some things you can always count on? Come back soon Anne-Sophie.