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Gerald Carpenter: Mutter-Bronfman-Harrell Trio Making Santa Barbara Debut

Anne-Sophie Mutter, left, Yefim Bronfman and Lynn Harrell are the Mutter-Bronfman-Harrell Trio, performing Friday at the Granada Theatre.
Anne-Sophie Mutter, left, Yefim Bronfman and Lynn Harrell are the Mutter-Bronfman-Harrell Trio, performing Friday at the Granada Theatre. (Courtesy photos)

The new classical super group the Mutter-Bronfman-Harrell Trio — consisting of Anne-Sophie Mutter on violin, Yefim Bronfman on piano and Lynn Harrell on cello — will play their first Santa Barbara concert as a team at 7 p.m. this Friday in the Granada Theatre.

Laying all their cards on the table at the outset, the trio offer a program of the two indispensable works written for this combination: Ludwig van Beethoven's Piano Trio in Bb-Major, Opus 97, “Archduke” (1811) and Peter Tchaikovsky's Piano Trio in A-Minor, Opus 50 (1882).

The Tchaikovsky makes its own case, immediately and forever, with its perfect fusion of classical form and Slavic passion. The Beethoven is subtler — at first, almost diffident — gaining momentum and pungency as it goes along, as if collecting a static charge. After two or three listenings it's obvious that it is a masterpiece of the very highest order, capable of surviving many, perhaps infinite, repeated hearings.

It's not particularly surprising that a Beethoven work, in any form, should prove an ever-true model of that form. What is surprising, at least to me, is how after all these years the Tchaikovsky is still able to captivate me, to catch me in its spell. After several attempt to "outgrow" it, I must admit that, no matter how evolved my tastes become, this trio continue to satisfy me. I believe it to be, except for the ballets, his greatest work.

Tickets to the Mutter-Bronfman-Harrell Trio are $48 to $128 for the general public and $16 for UCSB students with current ID. They are available from the Arts & Lectures ticket office at 805.893.3535, from the Granada Theatre at 805.899.2222 or online by clicking here.

— Gerald Carpenter covers the arts as a Noozhawk contributing writer. He can be reached at [email protected]. The opinions expressed are his own.

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