What drew a standing-room-only crowd to the Shelter Island Friends of Music concert on Labor Day weekend?
It must have been the posters around town showing a young trio of world-class musicians — cellist Kristina Reiko Cooper, violinist Laura Frautschi and John Novacek on piano — who promised an evening of classical music with a twist. No one was disappointed as the group, Intersection Trio, delivered a program of astonishing range and sublime playing.
The three instrumentalists played solos, duets and trios from the world of opera, symphony, chamber music, Broadway and ragtime. Has there ever been a mix on a single program of Debussy, Bernstein, Bizet, Scott Joplin and Shostakovich? Maybe not. Every piece was performed with just the right feeling for each composer’s style. In fact, the frenzied allegro movement of Shostakovich’s Piano Trio No. 2 ended in a delirious response from the audience.
Most of the program consisted of music that has been brilliantly rearranged for a piano trio. Bizet’s Carmen Suite, for example, originally scored for a huge opera house orchestra, lost none of its luster or melodic originality from being played only by violin, cello and piano. Some of Bizet’s music actually benefited from the clarity and transparency that these three instruments furnished.
And the driving force of Bernstein’s “West Side Story” took on a burnished beauty with the limpid playing of these artists.
The group’s pianist, John Novacek, added a marvelous piece of his own, called “Intoxication Rag,” which the trio powered through with real excitement. Mr. Novacek also played a Scott Joplin rag with all the tenderness and affection one could ask.
All in all, a most exhilarating evening, leaving just one more concert on the Friends of Music 2014 calendar. On Sunday, October 12, a piano (four hands) performance by Orion Weiss and Anna Polonsky will conclude the season.