Instrumentalist - Clarinet

Slayton's Murray County Auditorium, Tuesday night, March 5, had a small crowd; the roads were generally weather-related bad, and it was not a good night to go very far. Thankfully, the Alexander Fiterstein Trio made it through the blowing snow and bad roads in time for us to hear an absolutely sublime concert: three slim youngish gentlemen in dark suits and ties, emerging from the curtains in a relaxed yet ready state for performance of some of the world's most entrancing music (on clarinet, Fiterstein; on cello, Nicholas Canellakis; on piano, Steven Beck.)

Beethoven's Trio in B-flat Major led off, and there was a definite feeling from the players that they were in that world, and streaming Beethoven's wishes from that source. It was a pleasure to hear pure playing, with no histrionics or campy effects. The artistry and complete technical competence from each of these friends, informed us that either one of them could have been the head of the trio.

A cello sonata by Debussy, with accompaniment from Mr. Beck, showed virtuosity quietly shining forth from Mr. Canellakis. Alexander Fiterstein (the clarinet professor at the University of Minnesota) also played solo with Mr. Beck at the piano, in George Gershwin's three preludes. Jazz and classic touches all the way.

The star of the evening would have to be the four movement Clarinet Trio in A-minor, by Johannes Brahms. Especially notable was the dialog between the cello and the clarinet in the slow second movement, where it was clear that each of them spoke to each other, paying attention when the other replied, and then the piano would interject a few words here and there. Luscious tone from each of the instruments, along with delicate or powerful dynamics where needed, added to a complete and satisfyingly delicious performance of the work.

We were treated to an encore: a Klezmer composition from a friend of theirs, especially appropriate for a wedding. It was wild and crazy, after a rather prim beginning, and quite a lot of fun to hear (but I'm sure it was really fun to play!) Throughout the evening, Jan Van Oort, pianist and teacher from Fulda, at the request of the trio's pianist, Steven Beck, turned pages for him; a rigorous job that showed her well-rounded musicianship, AND gracious heart.

Jan Ann Peterson, Murray County News
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