Trio was written as a tribute to the Verdehr Trio and
uses material from the composer’s musical Shōgun,
hence the title of this short piece which is characterised by much cantabile
writing betraying its vocal origin.
In 1995 David Diamond wrote a trio for the Verdehr
Trio who have performed it and recorded it since (CRYSTAL CD 746). In
1999 he composed the Duo for Violin and Clarinet for Walter
Verdehr and his wife, the clarinettist Elsa Ludewig-Verdehr. This short
piece in a single movement falling into five contrasted sections is
a remarkable study in counterpoint.
The title of Satterwhite’s trio Time Considered
as a Helix of Semi-Precious Stones is inspired by a science
fiction short story by Samuel R. Delaney. The trio aims at evoking visions
inspired or suggested by the title which "calls up images of dazzling,
swirling brilliance" rather than by the real content of the short
story. The overall form of the trio is an extended Rondo "conveying
something of the idea of a helix". On the whole, this colourful
piece is the most advanced work in this programme though it is quite
Jonathan D. Kramer completed his Serbelloni Serenade
in Italy, at the Villa Serbelloni run by the Rockefeller Foundation.
Originally the composer viewed his piece as a suite of sharp contrasts,
"non sequiturs, discontinuities and unrelated material", but
the intense and concentrated work on the piece had it otherwise, so
that the finished work has more unity and coherence than originally
planned, though it has its share of contrasts and of post-modernist
near-quotations and allusions.
I was surprised and delighted to read that John Biggs
had been a pupil of Flor Peeters at the Royal Flemish Conservatory in
Antwerp. (He also studied with Roy Harris, Lukas Foss and Ingolf Dahl).
His Medieval Dance Suite is a delightful miniature based
on old tunes from France, England, Germany and Italy, many of which
will be familiar.
Erb’s Sunlit Peaks and Dark Valleys is
exactly that. The outer lively and brilliant movements frame a sorrowful
elegy inspired by the bombing of the Federal Building in Oklahoma City
some years go and partly based on Jesus Loves Me.
This release offers a good selection of works written
for the Verdehr Trio demonstrating the wide-ranging variety of the composers’
approach to the medium. Many fine works here that repay repeated hearings,
especially in such outstanding performances.