This disc is a follow-up from TrioMats’ first CD of
works by Beethoven, Shostakovich and Ravel (Daphne 1016) and how enterprising
to devote it to four contemporary Swedish compositions. This is the
sort of enterprise, which is so prevalent in Scandinavia. It deserves
our applause. It is the more unfortunate therefore that I can’t be a
little more enthusiastic about the music. I must immediately say that
the three Mats are wonderful musicians, with a fantastic sense of ensemble.
Superb quality tone and a very fine recording are also important. In
a word they are supremely committed and especially to this music which
they play with passionate belief.
The first work is in my view the most original and
entertaining on the disc, that is the trio of Nilsson. The opening ‘Foxtrot’
is like no other you will ever meet but it is bright and rhythmic. It
is followed by a ‘Habanera’. They makes some attempt at the typical
dotted crotchet rhythm and a closing, exciting Rondo. The music has
an inner life and vitality which is most appealing.
In the anonymous booklet notes Sandström writes
that his Fantasia was "strongly influenced by the tonal language
of Brahms – massively flowing music, based on what is often a ponderously
chordal piano part." I first came across Sandström in the
1970s with some avant-garde works which I felt demonstrated a composer
who had nothing in particular to say. With this Fantasia I still l feel
that he has nothing to say, except that now he takes longer to say it.
There will undoubtedly be those listeners for whom the rich and quasi-emotional
landscape of this work has an appeal, but if Sandström could have
learned something from Brahms, it would have been that form and structure
are the crucial aspect of his art not the heart-on-sleeve, vacuous meanderings
we are served up here. At 23 minutes it is the longest work on the disc.
Jeverud’s ‘Chamber Music chapter 2’, which was premiered
by the TrioMats, is in three movements: a short Introduction, then a
movement called ‘Play’ which reminded me of the sprung rhythms of Michael
Tippett, especially the Triple Concerto and the early quartets. The
third movement ‘Resonance’ is a contrast and explores sonority especially
in its piano writing.
Gösta Hansson’s ‘Tribute’, which gives the disc
its name, was written for the TrioMats. It is too diffuse to make much
of a point in its eight minutes, and lacks ideas of any real interest
although its lyrical opening, reminiscent of Shostakovich, has much
My advice is, keep a good look out for these superb