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Letter to the Editor
Feedback on Reviews of the Abegg Trio's all-Beethoven Concerts of 9/7, 9/8, & 9/9/07
September 14, 2007 - Chapel Hill, NC:
To the Editor:
I don't know what got under critic Rossman's skin
. Perhaps he was in one of those parallel dimensions the cosmologists speculate about.
I haven't read the reviews terribly carefully but didn't notice any specific comment about how well the Abegg overcame the intrinsic problem of balance between the piano and the strings — especially given the "big" parts written for the piano. Gerrit Zitterbart is certainly among the best chamber music pianists. Nor was there much comment about the Abegg's careful attention to and execution of Beethoven's dynamic markings and their command of dynamic range as well as their choice of tempi. These features are essential to any truly artistic rendition of Beethoven's compositions.
The period instrument-influenced choice of ("simplified") fingering by Ulrich Beetz contributed to the very clean, classical conception that I think is desirable in this portion of the repertoire. I personally thought the performances of the "bigger" works (Op.1 #3; Op.70 #s 1 and 2; Op.97) were very beautiful, satisfying and inspiring.
One can hardly "go wrong" with Beethoven cycles, but the piano trios don't quite have the same abundance of the best of Beethoven as the string quartets or the piano sonatas, so I think I should have preferred "mostly Beethoven" programming with substitution of Mozart and Brahms masterpieces (for example) for some of the Beethoven "fillers."
Chapel Hill, NC
PS: I was not so impressed with the Bösendorfer. And Zitterbart must have found the action a bit stiff in view of the number of notes that failed to sound under his delicate touch at Fletcher.