SOUVENIR

http://www.mvdaily.com/articles/2009/04/chameleon.htm
A Delightful Afternoon
LAWRENCE BUDMEN listens to the Chameleon Musicians

Chamber music on a Sunday afternoon can be an irresistible artistic soufflé. Set in the intimate salon atmosphere of the ballroom at the Leiser Opera Center in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA, the Chameleon Musicians' Series offers the opportunity to experience chamber music in its purest form. First rate artists gather to enjoy each other's company and play significant works from the highways and byways of the repertoire.

On 8 March 2009 Iris van Eck, cellist and founder of the Chameleon concerts, joined the superb Amernet Quartet and Toby Appel, one of the world's most distinguished violists and faculty member at the Juilliard School and Carnegie Mellon and Yale Universities, for an afternoon of nineteenth century ensemble works. In celebration of the two hundredth anniversary of Mendelssohn's birth, one of that composer's masterworks was the centerpiece on a program that also featured a rarity by his contemporary Louise Farrenc and a Tchaikovsky evergreen.
The French-born Farrenc (1804-1875) was an active pianist, composer and pedagogue. Her Quintet for 2 violins, viola and 2 cellos, Op 38 is a transcription of a Nonet for flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, horn, violin, viola, cello and bass. Never published in the composer's lifetime, the score has been issued by Hildegard Publishing Company. A well-crafted essay that seems ideal for intimate performance spaces (rather than large concert halls), Farrenc's String Quintet features some lovely melodies that receive formulaic development. This is music that never astounds but offers much pleasure. A charming Scherzo reminiscent of the instrumental writing of Charles Gounod is particularly enticing. Van Eck joined the excellent Amernet players (violinists Misha Vitenson and Marcia Littley Arias, violist Michael Klotz and cellist Javier Arias) for a spirited, elegantly spun rendition of this seldom heard score.
If Farrenc's piece was a pleasant appetizer, Mendelssohn's Quintet for 2 violins, 2 violas and cello in B flat, Op 87 was a stimulating main course, an authentic masterpiece. While Mendelssohn's melodic facility is as rich as ever in this late score, the quintet is replete with new and surprising developments. Thematic threads and contrasts rarely lead to expected ends. Unconventional turns of phrase and developmental journeys abound in this passionate score. The Adagio e lento (third movement) is deeply moving, almost elegiac in spirit and fervor. Not for the musical meek of heart or technique, this Mendelssohn gem requires virtuosic performance by a finely knit ensemble. Buttressed by the rich darkness of Appel's viola resonance, the Amernet Quartet offered an exciting, supple and romantically intense performance. The pulsating vivacity of the players' music making brought the Allegro molto vivace finale to an exhilarating conclusion. Here was chamber music playing at its finest by one of America's stellar ensembles!

Tchaikovsky's Souvenir de Florence is a chamber music mainstay. While airy lightness and thematic richness of Tchaikovsky's musical invention are evident in abundance in this ambitious sextet, the technical and formal rigor of this work is a fine example of the composer's structural mastery. Always considered an inspired melodist, Tchaikovsky has often been underrated for his craftsmanship and the grace and felicitous inventiveness of his instrumental writing.
Chameleon founder Van Eck played the gorgeous cello solos with crystalline musicianship and fervent, heated intensity of utterance. Appel's ruminative tonal glow, subtle phrasing and imposing technique brought depth to the ensemble. With the Amernet Quartet in high voltage form, this Souvenir traced the brooding passion of the Adagio cantabile e con moto and the lithe energy of the concluding Allegro vivace with equal bravura and grace. This super intense performance was a wonderful finale to a delightful afternoon of chamber music.

The Chameleon Series presents its concluding concert of the season on Sunday 19 April 2009 at the Leiser Opera Center in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA. Violinist Dmitri Pogorelov, pianist Kemal Gekic and cellist Iris van Eck will play works by Halvorsen, Mendelssohn and Rimsky-Korsakov. See www.chameleonmusicians.org for information.

Claassicalgreg November 26, 2008...3:39 pm
Has Max Reger’s time come at last?
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This weekend, cellist Iris van Eck opens her Chameleon Musicians series in Fort Lauderdale with music by Beethoven, Schubert, Schumann and Max Reger.

The music includes two string trios: Beethoven’s Op. 9, No. 3, in C minor, and the Schubert B-flat, D. 471. Schumann’s powerful E-flat major Piano Quartet, Op. 47, is also on the program, and then there’s one of the three solo cello suites of Reger — in D minor, Op. 131c, No. 2. Van Eck is going to record all three of the solo Reger suites in the coming months, and I’ll be eager to hear them.Reger, a tall, large man who died of a heart attack at just 43, was critically derided for decades because of his ornate, thick style, his long-windedness and his essentially dead-serious body of work. At first he sounds a lot like a Wagnerian Brahms, but without the tunes, and yet when I play some of the pieces from his Op. 82 collection, Aus Meinem Tagebuch, I find someone who’s more like the Schoenberg of Verklaerte Nacht.

Reger died in 1916, and some of the most radical music of the century had already been written, but this music sounds in many places like he would have been not far behind his colleagues, if he took longer to get there.

The most crucial composer for Reger was Bach, and much of what he wrote has a contrapuntal feel. Organists play his music a good deal, but it would be welcome to hear some more of his chamber music. He wrote a gargantuan amount of music in his short life — something like 1,000 pieces – and I don’t know of any concerted effort right now for a serious exploration of his chamber music in performance, to say nothing of the rest of his work.

But it looks to me that interest in Reger is growing. I have heard his music more often in the past five years that I can remember before, including a flute, violin and viola trio at this year’s Palm Beach Chamber Music Festival, and a lovely Reger arrangement of a Bach organ prelude for chamber orchestra in last year’s season of the Boca Raton Symphonia.

And one of Reger’s songs — the Maria Wiegenlied from his 60-song Op. 76 collection (it’s No. 52) — seems to be getting sung more frequently at Christmastime. It’s a lovely piece that makes good use of the folksong Joseph lieber, Joseph mein, amid a Wolf-like chromaticism that gives this tender song a heartfelt emotionalism that’s hard to resist.

It could be that Max Reger’s time has come at last. As the world’s performing organizations look in the libraries for good music from the Romantic era that they might have missed, Reger offers a very large selection to look through.

PBarts

Chameleon Musicians: For five years the fine Netherlands-born cellist Iris van Eck has been running a good string chamber music series at the Leiser Opera Center in the arts district of downtown Fort Lauderdale. Her new season opens at 3 p.m. Sunday with string trios by Beethoven and Schubert and the great E-flat Piano Quartet of Robert Schumann (with pianist Misha Dacic, a frequent guest), but the cognoscenti will be listening for van Eck to perform one of the three solo cello suites by Max Reger (all of which she'll record in the coming months). Tickets are $30, half that if you're a student. Call 954-761-3435 for more information or visit www.chameleonmusicians.org. — G. Stepanich

SEASON OPENER

http://southfloridaclassicalreview.com/2008/12/convivial-chameleon-opens-season-in-high-spirits/
Convivial Chameleon opens season in high spirits
By Greg Stepanich
Halfway through a spirited reading of the Schumann Piano Quartet, violist Michael Klotz turned to the audience just before his fellow Chameleon musicians began the slow movement.

"This is one of the most beautiful pieces ever written," Klotz said, referring to the Andante cantabile, and that we're-among-friends moment says a lot about the Chameleon series, which opened its seventh season Sunday afternoon at the Leiser Opera Center in Fort Lauderdale.
Cellist Iris van Eck launched her chamber music series, which has mostly involved pieces for strings, back in 2002, and it has retained a loose, convivial feel that serves the audience well and showcases dedicated musicians doing what they love to do best. These are professionals who play more like enthusiasts than veteran players numbed by routine.
For the first of her four seasonal programs, Dutch-born van Eck programmed along with the Schumann Quartet, early string trios by Schubert (in B-flat, D. 471) and Beethoven (in C minor, Op. 9, No. 3). She also took a turn in the solo spotlight with the second of three solo cello suites written by Max Reger, all three of which she will record in December.
The two trios featured van Eck, Klotz and violinist Misha Vitenson. They make a strong unit; all three are fine players, and they can be heard to good individual as well as group effect. The Schubert trio, a one-movement work written when the composer was only 19, pays homage to its Mozart and Haydn models but has a powerful melodic profile that announces a strong new voice. Ensemble here was tight and springy, which gave the group's reading of the piece an admirable freshness.
The Beethoven trio also announces the arrival of a significant composer, one for whom a restless, brusque energy is not only important but crucial to narrative structure. Here, too, the ensemble was clean and vigorous, and advocated well for Beethoven's intentions. Particularly notable was the tension each player brought to his and her iterations of the three-note motif that drives the argument of the first movement, and Vitenson's deft handling of the elaborate, aria-like figurations of the slow movement.
The Schumann Piano Quartet in E-flat that occupied the second half of the concert also abounded in high spirits. Pianist Misha Dacic joined van Eck, Klotz and Vitenson for this popular, appealing work, and once again sheer joy in music-making was much in evidence. Things seemed slightly out of balance in the third movement, though, as pianist Dacic tended to play his accompaniment figures a bit too loud for the other players, overwhelming the lovely tune. Schumann's writing there (particularly in the staccato passages) is often thick and when played on a modern concert grand can easily drown out the strings.
Van Eck told the audience she had fallen in love with the three Reger suites this summer as she prepared them for a recording. Reger is a composer who, after years of critical derision and absence from concert programs, is now getting more frequently played and recorded. Van Eck played the second of the three suites, in D minor, a four-movement work that looks back to Bach, who was Reger's compositional lodestar.
This is a beautiful work, quite severe in its opening movement (a slow Preludium) and very Bachian indeed in its second movement Gavotte and its closing Gigue. The third movement Largo has one of those endless, long-breathed melodic lines, and, overall, it's a piece that deserves to be in the repertory of serious cellists.
Van Eck is a fine player with a considerable technique who produces a focused, intense tone color, and she made a persuasive case for the suite. Still, this is a very difficult piece and at times van Eck ran into trouble, especially in the double and triple stop passages of the first movement, which weren't satisfactorily in tune. She also seemed to be trying too hard throughout to make an impact with the piece and often played with a noticeable stiffness, suggesting that while she may have the piece in her fingers, she doesn't feel entirely comfortable with it yet.
Van Eck is taking an important stand for the cello repertoire by performing and recording these works, and she should be commended for it. But the music itself needs to breathe a bit more in her hands, and it may take a few more outings with the suites in public before that happens.
The Chameleon series resumes at 3 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 18, 2009, when van Eck will be joined by pianist Kemal Gekic for music by Prokofiev, Mendelssohn, Locatelli and Ginastera. Single tickets are $30 and can be had by calling 954-761-3435 or visiting www.chameleonmusicians.com.
Greg Stepanich has covered classical music, theater and dance for 25 years at newspapers in Illinois, West Virginia and Florida. He worked for 10 years at The Palm Beach Post, where he was an assistant business editor and pilot of Classical Musings, a classical music blog. He now blogs for the Palm Beach ArtsPaper at www.pbartspaper.com and at classicalgreg.wordpress.com. He also works as a freelance writer and composer.
Posted in Performances

GYPSY

South Florida Sun-Sentinel March 3, 2008

The Chameleon Series ends season with emotional depth

By Lawrence Budmen, Special Correspondent for South Florida Sun-Sentinel

The languorous strains and fiery eruptions of gypsy violins and guitars have provided inspiration for some of the greatest composers of the past three centuries. The Chameleon Series celebrated that legacy on Sunday at its final program of the season.

Two trios for violin, piano and cello bookended the intimate concert at the Leiser Opera Center. Haydn's Trio in G Major reflects the elegance of rococo classicism with a dose of Hungarian musical flavoring. The subtle interplay of Michael Klotz's incisive violin, Iris van Eck's patrician cello and Misha Dacic's sensitive keyboard figurations was devoid of overt exhibitionism, allowing the music to speak with natural, unforced lyricism.
Klotz brought unusual depth to the emotional contours of the Poco adagio. The Rondo all'Ongarese finale received brisk, effervescent treatment from the trio, with Dacic cutting loose in the gypsy interlude.

Dvorak's Piano Trio in E minor (Dumky) emerged freshly minted in the Chameleon threesome's exciting and richly communicative interpretation. From the mysterious opening measures of the Lento maestoso to the robust Furiants and Czech dances, the players exhibited a sense of wonder in every bar. In the second movement, Van Eck's rich cello tone communicated Dvorak's Bohemian nostalgia.
After Dacic's flowing octaves of keyboard color in the Andante, a blazing rendition of the concluding Vivace dazzled with surefire bravura. The musicians played with the polished ensemble and precision of a full-time chamber music group.

Dacic had a field day with Vladimir Horowitz's extravagant elaboration of Liszt's Hungarian Rhapsody No.2, encompassing the powerhouse fireworks and rollicking dance rhythms with incendiary verve. In the coda, the pianist's hands flew across the keyboard in a visual blur.

Although Romanian by birth, Georges Enescu lived in Paris for much of his professional life. His Concert Piece for viola and piano reflects the Franco-European élan of Saint-Saens and Chausson. Klotz, a member of the Amernet String Quartet and principal violist of the Boca Raton Symphonia, played this beautiful score with aristocratic restraint.

Van Eck performed the rarely heard cello version of Bartok's First Rhapsody, composed in 1928 for legendary violinist Joseph Szigeti. The deeper colors of the cello bring the music's dark, brooding subtext to the fore. Van Eck mastered Bartok's high flying harmonics in a performance of intense fervor with a dash of Hungarian paprika.

Lawrence Budmen can be reached at lbudmen@msn.com or go to www.lawrencebudmen.com
Copyright © 2008, www.sun-sentinel.com

CELLO/PIANO 3 van Eck/Gekic

A review of the Chameleon series
By LAWRENCE BUDMEN
South Florida Sun-Sentinel January 14 2008
Cellist Iris van Eck and pianist Kemal Gekic proved a near perfect duo, matching sonic power and vivid instrumental personalities at the Chameleon series' afternoon musicale on January 13 at the Leiser Opera Center in Ft. Lauderdale.

The players captured the Mediterranean languor of Debussy's Sonata in D minor, making child's play of the tricky rhythms and dissonant harmonics of the Serenade et Finale. The first of three sonatas for varied instrumental combinations penned in the final two years of the composer's life, this score ventures beyond impressionism to embrace the astringent textures and motoric thrust that were sweeping Europe via the balletic scores of Stravinsky and Prokofiev. Van Eck and Gekic illuminated the Gallic enchantment of this path breaking work which still sounds astoundingly modern in the 21st century.

Beethoven's Sonata in C Major, Op.102, No.1 is one of those remarkable creations from the master's late period that reinvented the chamber music genre. Gekic lavished a whirlwind of pianistic exuberance on this emotionally volatile score, channeling subtlety as well as thunder. Van Eck' s warmly expressive delineation of the Adagio preceded an appropriately brusque Allegro vivace.

From the first solemn chords to the bright, lithe finale, the duo brought dash and sparkle to the Baroque felicities of Handel's Sonata. Van Eck's dark tonal palette and measured, expansive pace probed the depths of the soulful Sarabande. Gekic exhibited unusual delicacy in this stylish recreation of an early instrumental showpiece.

Leos Janacek's Pohadka (fairy tale) was a fascinating panoply of repetitive figurations that suggested contemporary minimalism and vivacious Czech melodies that would not have been out of place in a Dvorak string quartet. The musicians' incisive performance offered a wealth of instrumental coloration. Every pianistic hue and plucked string motif was tellingly projected.

Gekic's penchant for fiery octaves launched Brahms' Sonata in F Major in blazing style. Van Eck eloquently spun the main theme of the Adagio affetuoso, a quintessentially Brahmsian melody of elongated passion. Instead of the usual heavy handed sobriety, the cellist exhibited a light touch in the charming Allegro passionato, reserving appealingly pensive edginess for the movement' s secondary theme. The explosive fireworks of the concluding Allegro molto were dispatched with daredevil verve and precision.
Copyright © 2008, South Florida Sun-Sentinel

SEXTET Amernet/Patterson/van Eck

Review: Chameleon chamber music series

Greg Stepanich
November 30, 2007

Even in compositional lives as well-known as those of Mozart and Brahms, there are many pages of music that deserve to be heard more often, but which for one reason or another suffer neglect.
Just reviving the music isn't enough. Commitment on the part of musicians who interpret these works is vital, and last Sunday at the Leiser Opera Center in Fort Lauderdale, a receptive audience got to hear both: Wonderful scores and passionate musicians who brought them to life.
In the opening afternoon of its three-concert season, the Chameleon chamber music series offered powerful performances of a late string trio by Mozart and an early string sextet by Brahms, plus a solo viola version of a J.S. Bach suite for solo cello. The camaraderie on the part of the musicians - Florida International University resident ensemble the Amernet Quartet (pictured above), joined by violist Chauncey Patterson and Chameleon founder Iris van Eck on cello - was evident throughout this nourishing, enlightening afternoon of great chamber music, beautifully played.

For the six-movement Divertimento for string trio (in E-flat, K. 563) of Mozart, van Eck was joined by violist Michael Klotz and violinist Misha Vitenson. This trio, which dates from 1788, provides compelling evidence of the scholarly contention that Mozart, for all his wondrous ability displayed so young, was in reality a late bloomer as a composer. It's in works such as this that we can hear a musician who is innovating in almost each bar, confounding expectations every step of the way.
Vitenson, Klotz and van Eck blended nicely as an ensemble, with a springy, tightly controlled sound that allowed the solo writing to spin off logically from the core and at the same time offered the ability to sustain a single mood for a sustained period of time. This was clear right from the start of the piece, with a standard Mozartean chordal-outline opening and gentle answer followed by a sudden blizzard of scales from violin and viola that suggested the music would be taking in a good deal of territory.
Some of the most compelling playing came in the fourth movement, a theme and variations that exploits a wealth of styles and colors, including a minor-key moment in which the three musicians created a persuasive mood of antiquity. The restraint with which they played the fifth movement Minuet provided excellent contrast with the preceding movement and the finale, a wide-open piece full of rich, soaring melody and difficult string writing.

Violist Klotz opened the concert with the First Cello Suite (in G major, BWV 1007) of Bach. Klotz's tempos were on the slow, reflective side, particularly in the opening Prelude and closing Gigue, and it worked well for his kind of playing, which is elegant, technically polished, and very sensitive.
His sound is more focused and penetrating than it is large, but it's very attractive and full of personality; I enjoyed hearing his intimate reading of this famous music, which worked just as well on the viola as it does on the cello.

The second half of the concert was devoted to the Sextet in B-flat, Op. 18, of Brahms, completed in 1860 when the composer was in his late 20s. This is a long, gorgeous work, full of rapturous melodic invention and a marvelous ear for the myriad textures you can get out of two violins, two violas and two cellos.
The Amernet Quartet (Vitenson, violinist Marcia Littley, Klotz, and cellist Javier Arias) joined forces with Patterson and van Eck for the Brahms, and from the first minute it was clear that all six musicians would be focusing all their efforts on giving this work an all-out performance.
The strength and forcefulness of the group's playing in the first movement was ideal for the bigness of Brahms' writing, with its long-breathed tunes and fat harmonies. Arias' solo work, intense and accomplished, was particularly compelling here.
And as it was with the Mozart, contrast was crucial for the Brahms. The widely ranging second movement (also a theme and variations), which covered an encyclopedia of emotion, was sharply differentiated from the brief scherzo that followed, to which the sextet gave a light, delicate touch.
The finale, a catchy rondo, ends excitingly as the instruments speed up to a whirlwind close for the last bars. The group's exemplary level of communication paid off handsomely as the six players galloped to the exuberant ending, at which point the audience's shouts of approval showed just how wrapped up they'd been throughout the piece.
Chamber music is a uniquely rewarding form because so many of the greatest composers' most profound thoughts were entrusted to these small ensembles. And when the playing is at as high a level as it was for the Chameleon concert, it comes close to being the only kind of music-making that truly satisfies.
Posted by Greg Stepanich at November 30, 2007 7:00 PM

SEXTET Amernet/Patterson/van Eck

Chameleon Musicians Series' season opener South Florida Sun-Sentinel.com
By Lawrence Budmen
Special Correspondent
November 27, 2007

The Chameleon Musicians Series season opener on Sunday featured major works by two of the three B's, plus a rarely played Mozart masterwork as centerpiece. Fort Lauderdale's Leisure Opera Center ballroom is an inviting venue for chamber music, boasting warmly vibrant acoustics and the intimate aura of a salon.

The Amernet String Quartet joined cellist Iris van Eck (director of the Chameleon concerts) and violist Chauncey Patterson (formerly of the Miami String Quartet) for Brahms' Sextet No. 1 in B-flat Major. Resident ensemble at Florida International University, the Amernet players (Misha Vitenson and Marcia Littley, violins; Michael Klotz, viola; and Javier Arias, cello) brought heartfelt passion, generous expressivity and high-voltage excitement to one of Brahms' earliest chamber scores.

With a wonderful sense of romantic grandeur pervading the entire performance, the musicians' relaxed, spacious approach to the opening movement was almost improvisatory. Arias' glorious cello variations in the solemn Andante captured the movement's dramatic cast. Klotz and Patterson deftly traced the viola's soaring theme. With Vitenson providing volcanic leadership, the Scherzo was essayed with palpable gypsy fire. Van Eck's rich cello sound ignited the fiercely intense coda.

Mozart's Divertimento in E-flat Major, K.563 is a towering work for string trio. Written three years before the composer's death, the score is tinged with the pathos finely etched in many of Mozart's late masterpieces. Van Eck, Vitenson and Klotz offered spirited rhythmic drive and precise articulation. In the Andante, a theme of deceptive simplicity was phrased with tenderness and delicacy. The Menuetto seemed to dance off the strings with scintillating vivacity. Taut, wonderfully quirky shaping infused the concluding Allegro, one of Mozart's most divine inventions.

The concert commenced with Klotz taking solo honors in a viola transcription of Bach's Cello Suite No. 1 in G Major. Popularized by Pablo Casals, the score proved surprisingly adaptable to the smaller instrument. Klotz produced darkly burnished, full tone and clarity of instrumental line. He shaped the familiar Prelude eloquently. Far from courtly dance graces, the violist displayed modernist urgency in a brilliant reading of the Courante, and infused the delightful Gigue with the invigorating joy of the dance.

Lawrence Budmen can be reached at lbudmen@msn.com.
Copyright © 2007, South Florida Sun

Last....but not Least Klotz/van Eck/Dacic

CHAMELEON MUSICIANS
MICHAEL KLOTZ/ MISHA DACIC/ IRIS VAN ECK (5-21-06)

By Lawrence Budmen http://www.lawrencebudmen.com/reviews_chameleon_musicians_klotz_dacic_van_eck.html

The brooding, melancholy strains of the Elegia, Adagio from Anton Arensky's Piano Trio in D Minor, Op.32 seem to evoke a different world, the Proustian musical reminiscence of things past - albeit a Russian (rather than French) one. This infrequently played chamber music masterpiece formed the bracing conclusion of the final concert of the season by Chameleon Musicians on May 21 at the Josephine Leiser Opera Center in Ft. Lauderdale.

Arensky was a pupil of Tchaikovsky. He eventually taught Alexander Scriabin and Nikolai Medtner at the Moscow Conservatory. Arensky's small but outstanding compositional output sings with the spirit of Russian romanticism; yet he managed to bring new blood and vitality to a traditional musical language. The Piano Trio is a superb work that brims with inspired melodies, intense instrumental utterance, and bravura display. While Tchaikovsky's Trio is clearly this work's antecedent, Arensky's score is both more classically restrained and vibrantly exhilarating.

The Chameleon performance marked the afternoon's high point. Michael Klotz, the superb violist of the Amernet String Quartet, switched to the violin and proved to be formidable on that instrument. The founder and director of the Chameleon series Iris van Eck brought her superbly burnished tone and musical intelligence to the cello line. Pianist Misha Dacic (well known locally from his appearances at the Miami International Piano Festival) offered deep understanding of the work's Slavic passion.

The gorgeous violin-cello interaction between Van Eck and Klotz propelled the Elegia to glowing heights. This music needs to be played with heart. They offered plenty of that plus a wonderful sense of musical spontaneity. Dacic's rippling pianistic runs set the Scherzo, Allegro Molto on fire. Klotz's violin glistened in the glorious opening theme of the initial Allegro moderato. The entire movement was played by this formidable threesome with uninhibited white heat. The Finale, Allegro non troppo was simply brilliant. Here was a performance to remember!

The Arensky was Dacic's best offering of the afternoon. This gifted pianist struggled with the Leiser Center's clunky, ill sounding piano. He managed to play Rachmaninoff's Andante from the Sonata for Cello and Piano, Op.19 (in the beautiful transcription by the formidable Arcadi Volodos) with exquisite lyrical line. Polka Italienne, however, failed to sparkle. Dacic has played these pieces wonderfully in the past. He was clearly hampered by the deficient keyboard instrument.

Klotz dedicated his performance of Grieg's Sonata for Violin and Piano in C Minor, Op.45 to the memory of the great violinist and pedagogue Oscar Shumsky. He had first heard this melodious score through a recording by Shumsky and Seymour Lipkin. Grieg's penchant for endlessly beautiful melodies takes wing in this violinistic tour de force. Klotz basked in the score's lyricism but also offered scintillating violinistic fireworks. With Dacic providing forceful underpinning, the music's debt to Brahms was vividly conveyed.

Van Eck opened the program with a genuine rarity - Alexander Borodin's Sonata for Cello and Piano in B Minor. Fascinated with the music of Bach, the composer used two themes from that master's Cello Suites as inspiration and unifying motifs in the sonata's three movements. (The third movement was left incomplete in an unpublished manuscript. Michael Goldstein completed the score from the composer's sketches.) Two soaring themes in this appealing score were recycled by Borodin in his Second Symphony and the opera Prince Igor. Van Eck played this interesting work with communicative intensity and deeply felt commitment. Her lovely tone caressed the piece's songful outbursts. A worthy revival!

As an encore, Van Eck, Klotz, and Dacic offered Fritz Kreisler's Little Vienesse March - played with schmaltzy brio and insouciant flair.

The intimacy of the Leiser Center's ballroom is perfect for chamber music. Here musicians communicate the sheer pleasure of music making with a directness and intimacy that is lacking in more formal concert halls. The Chameleon series is a real gem.