> Spanning the Twentieth Century - The Verhdehr Trio [RB]: Classical Reviews- March 2002 MusicWeb(UK)






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  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett


SPANNING THE TWENTIETH CENTURY
Dinos CONSTANTINIDES (b.1929)

The Oracle at Delphi (1994)
Gian Carlo MENOTTI (b.1911)

Clarinet Trio (1996)
Max BRUCH (1836-1920)

Two Pieces Op. 83 Nos 8 and 4 (1909)
Jon DEAK (b.1943)

Lad, A Dog: The Trio

The Verhdehr Trio: Walter Verdehr (violin); Elsa Ludewig-Verdehr (clarinet); Kathryn Brown (piano)
recorded with support from Michigan State University
CRYSTAL RECORDS CD941 [66.49]


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Crystal and the Verdehrs continue their traversal of music for trio. The open-minded approach has the merit of variety and unpredictability even if it flirts with the dangers of lack of a theme.

Like the owner of Crystal, Peter Dinos Constantinides is Greek. He is winner of the Delius Prize and is leader of the Baton Rouge SO. The Oracle at Delphi dates from 1994 and won the 1997 Delius Festival competition. It is written for and dedicated to the Verdehrs. Its modal caste makes the music folksy and accessible.

It is a privilege to have the Menotti work here. It has about it an Eulenspiegel Straussian cheekiness and is a very romantic work. It is intensely rhapsodic like the Bax Clarinet Sonata and the Delius Cello Sonata. Its centre of gravity is a Romanza in which Menotti might be Bellini reborn. The work has been long in the evolution and it must have been touch and go whether it would be finished.

The Bruch was written when the composer was 63 years old. The current arrangement is new. It has a sweet cloaked tone mixed with regret. The piano writing recalls Brahms in the Second Piano Concerto.

The Deak work is a gauntlet thrown down. The controversial components include the sounds of a dog panting, swannee whistles, creaky ragtimes and sentimentality. It is founded on the stories of Albert Payson Terhune. It is rather like a wild ride version of Knoxville but with gaps and potholes along the way.

Another stimulating and challengingly varied collection.

Rob Barnett


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