Pianist Adam Neiman has earned a strong reputation for his wide-ranging recitals and impressive repertoire, which includes more than 50 concertos. This concert with Camerata Pacifica allowed Neiman to show something of both his sides, beginning with the Ballade No. 4 of Frederic Chopin, a difficult and beautiful piece that he played with precision and color. From there, CamPac regulars Ani Aznavoorian on cello and Catherine Leonard on violin joined him for an exhilarating 50 minutes of Tchaikovsky’s Trio in A Minor, Op. 50. This energetic if somewhat repetitive piece is not everyone’s favorite, but it was hard to argue with the group’s performance. Aznavoorian and Leonard gave wonderful lightness and vitality to the opening “Pezzo Elegiaco,” which is full of lyrical exchanges between the cello and the violin. The crescendos of the latter half of this opening movement were handled with grace, and prepared the way for the pyrotechnics and mood swings of the second movement.
The second, or “Tema con Variazioni,” movement has 11 separate parts and generates the most division among listeners. Traditional Germanic development takes a backseat to Russian flash and filigree. The piano parts are difficult without necessarily being particularly substantial, and there are moments when it is hard to tell where the whole thing is going. Despite these reservations, it remains easy to be enthusiastic about this performance, which seemed to get the peculiar, jangling intensity of the work just right.
After the interval, the trio returned to the stage for the Four Seasons of Buenos Aires of Astor Piazzolla. Modeled after Vivaldi, this tango version of the four seasons concept gave each of the three players plenty of room to stretch out and show what they could do with a beautiful melody. Of the four sections, “Winter” is perhaps the most ambitious, and its counterpoint provided Neiman with some splendid moments. Thanks to the pianist’s work as a composer and transcriber, there was a delightful encore of Schumann’s Tr¤umerei arranged for a trio.