There were few frills to the latest offering of the Chamber Music in Historic Sites series--conservative repertory in the sort of unexceptionally elegant room that the Da Camera Society has taught us abounds in Los Angeles. But polished and wonderfully communicative playing from the Haydn-Trio Vienna made Sunday afternoon in the dining room of the Los Angeles Athletic Club a richly rewarding occasion.
The musicians--violinist Michael Schnitzler, cellist Walther Schulz and pianist Heinz Medjimorec--have played together for more than 20 years, and the distinctive patina of evenly aged chamber music is quite apparent in their work. Effortless ensemble, warm yet firmly focused sound and transparent textures characterized their readings.
Though not disciples of the period practice movement, they were alert to the stylistic, as well as substantial, distinctions among the Trio in A, No. 16, by Haydn, Brahms’ Trio in C, Opus 87, and Mendelssohn’s Trio in C minor. An overindulgence in generic schmaltz in the Mendelssohn Andante was their only interpretive excess.
Where a plunge into exaggerated sentiment might be expected and forgiven, Haydn-Trio Vienna turned instead to affectionate understatement--in the lone encore, a playful arrangement of Kreisler’s “Caprice Viennois.”