Trio Basso, the most intriguing of Europe’s new-music chamber groups, was formed in 1982 by Cologne-based violist Eckart Schloifer, cellist Othello Liesmann, and double bassist Wolfgang Guttler even though, at the time there were not more than a handful of original works designed for their singular instrumental combination. Since then, the number of works written for them has expanded enormously–to the current count of about 60–thanks to their rapport with composers who are challenged by the rich, resonant sonority of their instruments and the group’s deft experimentation with string techniques. Like the Kronos Quartet, the trio are energetically carrying on the venerable tradition of partnership between composers and performers. Those who have written for them are among the best and the brightest of contemporary continental composers, including established elders like Stockhausen and newcomers such as Wolfgang Rihm. A sampler of these commissioned works is slated for the trio’s Chicago debut sponsored by the Goethe Institute and Southend Musicworks. Of particular interest to me are: Rolf Riehm’s “Ich denk viel.”/Mr. President/pizz./13 and Manfred Niehaus’s rearrangement of Satie’s La piege de Meduse, seven easy pieces whose grotesque harmonization and histrionic grimaces can be strangely fascinating and memorable. Other composers featured include Mauricio Kagel, Hans Joachim Hespos, and A. Huber. Monday, 7:30 PM, Arts Club of Chicago, 109 E. Ontario; 329-0915.

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