OF THE MONTH
Dvorak Opera Premiere
International Connections – The Making
of a Medium - Volume 16 Jennifer HIGDON (b.1962)
Dash (2001) [4:22] Gernot WOLFGANG (b.1957)
Reflections (1999) [14:28] Bright SHENG (b.1955)
Tibetan Dance (2000) [9:59] Stephen CHATMAN (b.1950)
Trio (2001) Wolfgang RIHM (b.1952)
Gesangstück (2002) [25:30]
Elsa Ludewig-Verdehr (clarinet)
Silvia Roederer (piano)
rec. First Presbyterian Church of Lansing, Michigan, November
2003 (Wolfgang and Higdon) and in the Witold Lutoslawski
Concert Hall, Polish Radio, Warsaw, September 2003 (remainder) CRYSTAL RECORDS CD946 [64:19]
is not the only model for later twentieth century trios for
violin, clarinet and piano – though his is the most pervasive
and prominent. Nevertheless these five composers, from very
different backgrounds and aesthetics, each contributes a
work for this trio; works that range from the concise – Jennifer
Higdon – to the large-scale Rihm.
2001 Dash is just that – a sprightly drive animates
its four minutes and it functions as a brilliant kind of
scherzo. Gernot Wolfgang by immediate contrast operates deeper
in Bergian waters. There are perhaps hints too of Contrasts but
more so I think of the Berg Violin Concerto. He also covers
a wide canvas of effects, from bent, or blue notes for the
clarinettist, to the violin’s slapped pizzicati. There are
also folkloric moments and from 10:20 some expressive moments
when each instrument dons a soloistic mantle. The finale
is driving with a strangely ambiguous, held final note.
Dance by Bright Sheng was written in 2000 – all the works on this disc
are pleasingly up-to-date in fact. The quiet and reflective
first two movements – a Prelude and a brief but lovely
Song – soon give way to the Dance itself, all the more
enjoyable for having been held back. Derived from a melody
from a Chinese province near Tibet we find the clarinet
often leading and the foot tap quotient suitably high.
rather bald title of Stephen Chatman’s contribution - Trio
- belies the fact that it consists of three very forthcoming
and self-explicatory titles; Scales, Blues and Dance. There’s
no arguing with a composer who states his case so cogently
so let me just add that the scalar demands sound very taxing,
and that his Blues is tinted and haunted and fugitively suggestive.
Also that the Dance builds up a real groove through ever
final work is the longest. Rihm really knows how to handle
this ensemble, how to fuse it into a cogent and convincing
blend. His highly sophisticated technique is never off putting;
on the contrary he pushes the violin in alt and thereby
expands the available sonorities through traditional means.
He is unafraid to employ pizzicati for the same reason. There’s
a real fluidity of feeling in his work and it is a constant
pleasure to hear. The time passes quickly.
has long ago mastered the art of producing dextrous ensembles.
Their stable of wind and brass players is exemplary. The
Verdehr Trio has also been on a long and rewarding trek through
new music. This is amazingly enough their sixteenth volume
for Crystal and they are just as fresh and enthusiastic as
ever they were.
Reviews of other releases in this series Volume
1 Mozart, Hovhaness, Frescobaldi, Pasatieri, Bartok Volume
Schuller, Averitt, Currier Volume
6 Sculthorpe, Diamond, Corigliano Volume
13 Currier, Tower, Brohn, Welcher, Biggs, Hoag Volume
14 Eröd, von Einem, David
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