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Piano Trio Concludes Season

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t to r: Pogorelov, Van Eck, Gekic t to r: Pogorelov, Van Eck, Gekic

The final concert of the season for Chameleon ended on a very high note with three compositions spanning three centuries: Trio KV 548 in C Major by Mozart (1788), Trio opus 100 in EbMajor by Schubert (1827) and Trio in F# minor by Babajanian (1952).

The least well known is the most recent one by the Soviet-Armenian composer Arno Babjanian (1921-1983). “He was a great composer and a wonderful pianist himself,” said violinist Dmitri Pogorelov.

“One of the dedicatees of this piece is the famous violinist David Oistrakh. I studied the recording from the 1950s made by Babjanian and Oistrakh. It is a wonderful document, and gave me an idea of what to strive for. It’s as close as you can get to what he had in mind. We are not so fortunate with Mozart.”

Pogorelov, first violinist of the Kontras String Quartet, was joined in the concert by the Croatian pianist Kemal Gekic and Iris van Eck, whose superlative skills as a cellist are appreciated often here in Ft. Lauderdale as she in the principal cellist with Symphony of the Americas.

Gekic said the Trio in F# composition “was characteristic of Armenian folk music as it is in 5/8 times alternating with 6/8 time.”

The cello takes centre stage near the opening of the piece, and the music then becomes loud and insistent as the other instruments join in. The piano has a solo where it develops a melodramatic theme picked up by the other two. The headlong rush of this expressive first movement (appropriately named Largo-Allegro espressivo) would have made an excellent soundtrack for the 1921 Lillian Gish movie Orphans in the Storm.

In the Andante, the opening violin segment is an evocation of innocence and vulnerability and seems to signify the relief at reaching a safe haven after the storm of the first movement. The third movement, by contrast, began with a stern, almost mechanistic theme. It becomes frenetic – almost schizophrenic – as all three instruments generate their maximum decibel levels. Some audience members found it disconcerting.

The Babajanian piece was sharply different from the opening Mozart composition, characterized by fast-paced, playful and light-hearted themes. Some of the second movement would not be out of place as spring boating music.

The concluding Schubert composition is a true “trio opus” lasting just over 40 minutes. “It is not just a classical piece but a classic piece,” said Van Eck.

It opens in an inquisitive vein, with the piano as the interrogator while the other two instruments attempt to respond. When the piano seems to reject an answer, the other two fire back emphatically, reasserting their reply. The first movement concludes with an accord of sorts. In the second, the piano and cello begin an uneasy concord, then the three instruments spar with one another and appear to achieve a sense of concord of spirit.

A see-saw melody in the third movement leads to the fourth and final movement. A rather pedestrian score for the piano morphs into a a segment featuring a chromatic scale and several trills in the upper register that repeat again a couple of minutes later. Meanwhile the violin and cello generate a coherent sound of masterful precision in the hands of Van Eck and Pogorelov. Neither bombastic nor mellow, it seems to tell a tale of redemption.

Shot through with brio, the Schubert composition was a wonderful showcase for the brilliant talents of Gekic, who is Artist in Residence at Florida International University.

Photo copyright by Cliff Cunningham.

The next season for Chameleon starts October 26, 2014. Concerts are held in downtown Ft. Lauderdale at the Peiser Opera Center. Visit the website for ticket details:

Next season is Chameleon’s Lucky thirteenth! It’s our 13th season and we are raising funds to pay the wonderful musicians that perform at our concert series. Chameleon's chamber music series is one of the few local opportunities for residents of Broward County to hear professional chamber music performances of international quality.  Chameleon's performances have been met with enthusiastic support from classical music lovers and critics alike.


Our goal is to raise $5000 … the wonderful news is that there are dollar for dollar matching funds through BBX Capital Foundation for every dollar that you contribute … until it runs out… So time is of the essence…


Here is how to do this:

  • to go to the project page.
  • When you are there, you can read all about the project and watch a YouTube video from one of our concerts.
Clifford Cunningham

Dr. Clifford Cunningham is a planetary scientist. He earned his PhD in the history of astronomy at the University of Southern Queensland, and has undergraduate degrees in science and ancient history from the University of Waterloo. In 2014 he was named a contributor to Encyclopedia Britannica. He is the author of 14 books on asteroids and the history of science. In 1999 he appeared on the TV show Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Asteroid 4276 was named in his honor in 1990 by the International Astronomical Union based on the recommendation of its bureau located at Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.

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