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Dal Segno Trio: West of the Danube

Review by Ivy Wigmore

On Sunday, July 16th, St. Mary's Church featured the Dal Segno Trio's concert featuring the music of eastern European composers, "West of the Danube," as part of the ongoing Indian River Festival. The evening marked the trio's fourth appearance at the festival. Only fitting, really, since dal segno (Italian for the sign) instructs the musician to return and commence from the sign.

The New York-based trio, all of whom are Julliard-trained, is: Mescal Wilson, a pianist who has performed solo at both Carnegie Hall and the Kaufman Concert Hall and whose 1992 recording of Szmaowski's Symphonie Concertante for Piano and Orchestra, Opus 60 was named classical Disk of the Year by the New York Observer; John Kneiling, who has performed as the principal cellist with the Symphony Orchestra of the State of Mexico and is currently principle cellist with the New York Symphonic Arts Ensemble; and, Stanley Hoffman, violinist and violist, who has played with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, the New York Philharmonic, and (under the direction of Leopold Stokowsky) with the American Symphony Orchestra.

The trio offered elegant renditions of Vitezslav Novak's Trio quasi una Ballata, Opus 27; Zoltan Kodaly's Duo for Violin and Cello, Opus 7; and Antonin Dvorak's Dumky- Trio, Opus 90. Kneiling helpfully and humourously explained that the word dumky is not a variation of dummkopf,-he hastened to assure us that "Dumky-Trio" does not mean "three dummkopfs"-but is the plural of dumka a traditional folk melody about past glory. Throughout both the Dvorak and Kodaly selections, heard fragments of Eastern European folk melodies lend a particular poignancy to the music.

St. Mary's Church, which was designed by William Critchlow Harris, has been called one of the best buildings, acoustics-wise, in the world. Indeed, the all-wooden Gothic interior is said to replicate the qualities of the interior of a violin, so the audience enjoys the unique experience of being inside the instrument of music itself.

En route to the washroom, a woman (also from New York) stopped Hoffman to say how beautiful the music was, "but what," she wondered,"ever brought you to Prince Edward Island?" His response, in keeping with the trio's performance, was eloquent and unpretentious: "We were invited." The architecture, acoustics and wonderful music combined to produce a memorable summer's evening entertainment. But don't fret if you missed them-I have a feeling that the Dal Segno Trio will return.

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