Trio That Doesn’t Work Well Together

Washington Post
May 8 2004

Trio That Doesn’t Work Well Together

Saturday, May 8, 2004; Page C03

The members of Trio Moskva, who hail from the former Soviet Union,
now make music in our metropolis. At the Corcoran Gallery of Art
Thursday night, the trio worked hard at giving authentic Russian
readings to two rather obscure works by their countrymen.
Unfortunately, the results were less than triumphant.

Armenian composer Arno Harutyuni Babadjanian’s 1952 Trio in F-sharp
Minor contained the most redeeming moments of the evening. The motif
of the first movement was tenderly plaintive. The high point was the
middle movement, in which the soulful violin solo alternated with the
cello, which in turn fluently produced emotionally rich solos. But
the rest of the program did not measure up to this standard. The
final movement of the Babadjanian, for instance, should have been
ballerina-light but stomped like a soldier.

While the performances of pianist Anna Ouspenskaya, violinist Olga
Yanovich and cellist Igor Zubkovsky were individually adequate, the
three never jelled as an ensemble. This was particularly evident in
the Piano Trio in D by Sergey Taneyev, a work that embodied the fluid
lines and rich harmonies of the late romantic era but was marred by a
lack of finesse. Propelled by Ouspenskaya’s pounding technique, the
group’s dynamics ranged from loud to louder, heading to a muddy

The experience was further tainted by several intrusive and nearly
inaudible announcements by the concert chairperson, an excessively
delayed start time, and an exorbitant admission price of $60.

— Gail Wein