Fidelio Trio


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Bulb Review

by Stephen Eddins

The Fidelio Trio is made up of Irish musicians, and for their debut CD they play piano trios by composers born (or settled) in Ireland. Dublin-based Donnacha Dennehy's music often has an urban edge, with some of the energy of rock. Bulb is more minimalist-inspired, with interlocking gestures and patterns reminiscent of Steve Reich. Dennehy takes his pitch material from the overtone series, so harmonically the piece is related to spectralism, which actually works well when integrated with minimalism as skillfully as it is here. For Marcel Dzama, by Ed Bennett, is a dissonant and agitated reflection on the work of the Canadian painter Dzama, flecked with moments of repose. It includes a part for sampler that primarily consists of a low-level clicking and grinding and doesn't seem to have much of a connection to the live performers. Deirdre Gribbin's How to Make the Water Sound is delicate and pointillist, with just a suggestion of impressionism. Kevin Volans was born in South Africa, but became an Irish citizen in 1994. The Kronos Quartet played several of his early works based on African folk tradition, but his later work doesn't have such overt folk influences. He cites the work (and personalities) of Morton Feldman and painter Philip Guston as the impetus behind his Piano Trio. It doesn't sound like Feldman's music, though; it's robust and animated, if somewhat melancholy, with some of the repetitive structures of minimalism, and it's a very attractive piece. Fidelio plays with utter conviction, beautiful tone, and a strong ensemble, capturing the spirit of each of these hugely diverse works.

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