There were no bright flashing lights, no dramatic announcement - only the music, which would speak for itself. The Baird Trio Wednesday night performance in Slee Hall was devoted entirely to showcasing the talent of UB's prolific music faculty.
The trio of violinist Movses Pogossian, cellist Jonathan Golove, and pianist Stephen Manes was a model of simplicity when they took the stage decked head to toe in black. The performers' passion for their music was evident in their intense body movements as they played for the 100 or so people assembled before them.
The narrative quality of their first piece, "Trio No. 3 in G minor, Op. 110," composed by Robert Schumann, made gave the impression of a heated scene being played out. There were moments of escalation and rapid changes of intensity usually reflected in the performers' body language.
The piece's final movement was abundant with contrasting melodies and numerous paces interspersed with each other. The musicians' unity was a beautiful combination in the frenzied end of the Schumann composition, and the trio was rewarded with lavish audience applause.
Following a short intermission, the trio returned to the stage to perform "Trio No. 2," a lengthy, modern piece by post-expressionist composer Leif Segerstam that extends through only a single movement.
The piece was played in what the composer called "free pulsative" style, which allows freedom with such elements as rhythm. The composer also allows the performers to notate their own dynamics once they have grasped the piece and rehearsed the composition a number of times, according to a program notation.
It coursed through many drastic changes and utilized layering, a technique in which each performer plays a different melody, often producing dissonance, especially between the strings. In a great contrast to the previous piece, the trio members almost never unified or complemented one another.
The pace was frantic with strange changes and creative bow work by Pogossian and Golove, sometimes banging bow to strings and at other times slowing drastically to a more traditional, unified speed.
The final composition was "Trio in E Minor," by Mozart, which consisted of three similar movements. The bright, airy feeling of the piece sounded almost like the proliferation of spring growth, maintaining a gentle pace with a melodic give and take between the three instruments.