Pianist Joseph Kalichstein, violinist Jaime Laredo, and cellist Sharon Robinson have played as a trio for almost a decade and a half–they first got together for Jimmy Carter’s inauguration–and, to their credit, the partnership has remained as fresh as ever. Their longevity as a sought-after chamber team can also be attributed to the kind of decidedly mainstream yet thoughtful programs they offer–such as this one. For contrast, two bookends of the piano trio genre will be displayed back to back. Hadyn’s Trio in E minor, his ninth out of a total of 30, was written in 1789, toward the end of his servitude as kapellmeister to the neurotic Esterhazys; limpid and graceful, it represents the trio form in its formative years as new fangled court entertainment. By the time Shostakovich composed his Piano Trio no. 2 in E minor (incidentally, the same key as Haydn’s) during the darkest hours of World War II, the genre already had been transformed by Beethoven and others into a vehicle for emotional angst. The Soviet composer’s entry is a despairing testament to the destructiveness of war and the specter of death; no notable piano trio has come forth since. For variety, the Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson Trio has scheduled Dvorak’s celebrated Piano Quintet in A, Op. 81, a product of the Czech’s vintage years that epitomizes the quintessentials of his music: lyrical folk melodies, vital rhythm, colorful scoring, and a gamut of moods from melancholy to joy. Joining the trio will be Ani and Ida Kavafian, Istanbul-born Armenian sisters who are among the brightest and busiest of the under-40 generation of string virtuosi. Tonight, 8 PM, Blackstone Theatre, 60 E. Balbo; 242-6237 or 663-1628.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Steve Speliotis.