Review in brief: ‘Gabriel Lefkowitz and Friends’ offers a delicious ‘Trout’

Franz Schubert, at his best, gives the listener a feeling of euphoria, an ineffable sensation of joy that falls somewhere between contentment and exhilaration. Schubert’s “Trout Quintet” (Quintet in A Major, D. 667), heard last evening on the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra’s “Gabriel Lefkowitz and Friends” Concertmaster Series of chamber music at the Knoxville Museum of Art, offered that sense of euphoria—a sense of warm fall days, glistening brooks, and sunlight making its way through a forest of green.

In this performance, Lefkowitz’s colleagues in the euphoria consisted of violist Kathryn Gawne, cellist Andy Bryenton, double bassist Steve Benne, and pianist Kevin Class. The “Trout” that emerged from their efforts was warm and luscious, sublimely balanced, and crisply rendered and articulated with just enough edge as contrast. The fourth movement, a set of variations on the original song’s theme, tumbled along happily, opening door after door to the different perspectives.

As a way of reminding the audience of the gist and theme of the original song, bass-baritone Brandon Gibson joined Class for a lithe and luxurious take on the song.

Violinist Lefkowitz and pianist Class opened the evening with Johannes Brahms’ Sonata No. 1 in G Major, a contemplative, but rewarding, counterpoint to the Schubert.

The program can be heard again this evening (Thursday, September 29, 2016) at 7:00 PM at the KMA.