In the fifth concert of this year’s ChamberFest Cleveland season, programming took “A Turn in the Road” amid the festival’s theme of searching for freedom. Three trios played works by Alban Berg, George Crumb, and Antonín Dvořák, each of whom sought liberation from aesthetic constraints in some way. The resulting musical experience on June 21 in the Cleveland Institute of Music’s Mixon Hall had remarkable stylistic and sonic range.
Spoken commentary prefaced the performance by Diana Cohen, Franklin Cohen, and Roman Rabinovich of Berg’s Adagio for violin, clarinet, and piano. Rabinovich pointed out some of the compositional intricacies that lace the score, and even played one of Berg’s themes in a harmonization more reminiscent of Richard Strauss, a contemporary. That the Cohens and Rabinovich viewed Berg’s work as a modernist alternative to Straussian sensuality became clear in performance.