Pas de Trois Bernard van BEURDEN (b.1933)
Pas de trois [10:18] Jindrich FELD (b.1925)
Trio Giocoso [12:00] David FROOM (b.1951)
Arirang Variations (2004) [10:57] Perry GOLDSTEIN (b.1952)
Noir (1999) [14:11] Don FREUND (b.1947)
Louder than Words [17:24]
Benjamin Coelho (bassoon)
Alan Huckleberry (piano)
rec. University of Iowa, Clapp Recital Hall, May 2005 CRYSTAL RECORDS CD358 [65:00]
Trois, of course, rather than deux because
this is a versatile trio playing enjoyable material. All are
living composers – Feld
is the most senior of the quintet – and the Crystal team
has taken the opportunity to vary instrumentation in the
interests of bringing the trios to wider prominence.
the case with the van Beurden work that lends its name to
the title of the disc. It was originally written for soprano
and tenor saxophones and piano. Here Benjamin Coelho’s bassoon
is inducted to replace the tenor. This is a brisk three-movement
work, light on its toes and written in frankly agreeable
style. The Overture is balletic and the Pastorale is melodic
with a deliciously curvaceous lyric at its heart; then, to
end, there’s a loquacious Tarantella.
Feld contributes a tougher nut, his Trio Giocoso.
Again it’s heard here in different instrumentation, since
it was originally written for clarinet, bassoon and piano.
As ever Feld proves masterly in control of his forces and
injects just the right note of unease to bring tension to
bear. Which is not to underplay the capricious Andante or
the fluent Allegro opener. The finale has vital energy, from
its chattering exchanges and the rollingly brilliant piano
part. The introspective moments are swept aside in the general
Froom unfolds a Korean melody for the departed. Naturally
it’s elegiac in mood and also in texture but it’s finely
paced and ends with quiet reflection. His slightly younger
contemporary Perry Goldstein originally intended Noir for
alto saxophone, viola and piano so here wit the bassoon replacement
we do have a different proposition in terms of balance and
sonority. Nevertheless the players pitch into the angular
and occasionally bad tempered writing – which Goldstein is
careful to set against jazzier gestures. Finally there is Louder
than Words by Don Freund. This is the biggest canvas
in the disc – seventeen and a half minutes, cast in two movements – and
does exist in other instrumental versions. Freund is not
afraid to be brusque or to suggest a passage from Mozart’s
Piano Concerto K466 either. The effect of this and other
gestures can be rather offputting. Part II sounds like it
could do with pruning; the conjunctions and differences between
passages pile up – with neo-baroque gestures also making
their mark. Intriguing but confusing.
Tse, Coelho and Huckleberry
play with great conviction and concentration. Where they
transpose they do so with care and sound authoritative. As
usual Crystal’s engineering is excellent; notes as well.
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