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available from: davej2211@Juno.com

Sergei Ivanovich TANEYEV (1856-1915)
Trio in D, Op. 21 (1880) [25.13]
Mark J. LENZ

Three by Three (1997) [8.31]
Henry PURCELL (1659-1695)

Fantasia No. 1, Z.732 (1680) [3.46]
David Alan EARNEST (b.1960)

String Trio No. 2 (1998) [20.17] music available from dav_ear@msn.com
Langroise Trio: Geoffrey Trabichoff, violin; David Johnson, viola, Samuel Smith, cello
rec. 1999, Langroise Recital Hall, Campus of Albertson College of Idaho, Caldwell, Idaho, USA.
Notes in English. Photo of artists.
LANGROISE TRIO 60355 36502 [58.10]


Comparison Recordings:
Taneyev Trio, Belcanto Strings MDG 834 1003-2
Purcell Fantasia. London Baroque, EMI 7 63066-2

Sergei Taneyev, student and friend of Tchaikovsky, first to perform the B minor piano concerto, a founder and director of the Moscow Conservatory, teacher of Prokofiev and many others, has finally come into his own as a composer in the West. Long popular in Russia, it has been little more than fifteen years since that first Western recording of his Piano Quintet awakened curiosity for more of his music. With release of Russian recordings as well as new Western recordings much of his excellent chamber, vocal and symphonic music is now available to us. Even his less talented uncle Alexander has now had some of his music recorded!

This recording by the Langroise Trio of the Op. 21 was the first made in the West. The chosen acoustic blends the sound and makes these three instruments sound almost orchestral in effect. On the other hand the Belcanto strings are more closely recorded and play beautifully, but appear to be so concerned with beauty of sound and the arc of their phrases that the dramatic structure of the music is not so effectively projected.

We read about how many sixteenth through eighteenth century composers began to study law and then switched to music as a career. Mark Lenz, formerly trombonist with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, went the other way, switching from music to the law, practising currently in Reno, Nevada, USA. The three movements of this work for two cellos, played here in a transcription for cello and viola, are named, respectively, Hindemistic, Elgaronne, and Shostafuga. My observation is that the names were likely added after the fact, since the music gets on quite well without them, and we do not hear profoundly ingenious parodies, only a celebration of the sound of string instruments.

Heard between these works, the Purcell sounds amazingly modern. The remnants of modal harmonic practice in Purcellís phrases resonate well with the neo-modal harmonies of the surrounding works. The London Baroque play viols, in an authentic staccato phrased, necessarily equal-tempered performance, whereas the Langroise Trio play in just intonation on members of the violin family, allowing us the full flavor of Purcellís ripe and pungent harmonies. This is an affectionate but not sentimental performance.


The most remarkable work on this disk is the Earnest Trio, in particular the first movement. Like most great composers, Earnest freely borrows phrases and moods from other composers, fully assimilating these influences into his own art. The first moments of this work might be said to depict Philip Glass meeting César Franck, but the impression is only momentary as the music sweeps onward with its own authentic and vitally compelling logic. As we explore this rich tonal landscape, there are moments of aggressive dissonance, not unlike middle period Bartók, but the overall shape of the music is solidly neo-Romantic. With each hearing, this work further ingratiates itself and I will be very surprised if Earnest is not soon universally recognized as one of the major musical personalities of the early twenty-first century. Fortunately his works are frequently performed by the Langroise Trio, among others and samples of his music can be heard at www.broadjam.com/davidalanearnest

Paul Shoemaker



 

 


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