Mendelssohn Trios Op.49 and 66
(Emily Bruskin, violin; Julia Bruskin, cello; & Donna Kwong, piano)
In a recording arena where giants have trod, the Claremont Trio enters like chaste huntresses of Diana and leaves like conquering heroes with performances that are deft, exhilarating, and imaginative without being self-conscious. In the process, twin sisters Emily and Julia Bruskin, and Donna Kwong, who formed the Trio in 1999 at the Juilliard School, find a cool equilibrium between industry and frivolity where an elegant, totally Mendelssohnian sexiness resides.
Neither of the Bruskin sisters indulges much in portamento, but the playing is suffused with plenty of Romantic ambiance thanks to cellist Julia's lovely, warm sound and violinist Emily's soaring grace, while pianist Kwong commands majestically from the keyboard without being overbearing. Whether the lack of focus on any one of the instruments
is due to Adam Abeshouse's beautiful recording, made at SUNY Purchase, or whether this is the Claremont style, is not possible to say without hearing them live.
Although Julia's liner notes are enthusiastic and informed, next time, perhaps, she will include more about the Claremont Trio's thoughts about the music.