Her Voice: Beach, Clarke, Farrenc

Neave Trio

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Her Voice: Beach, Clarke, Farrenc Review

by James Manheim

The U.S.-based Neave Trio has stirred excitement from the start, signing to the prestigious label Chandos with their 2016 album American Moments. Part of the reason for the group's success lies with its innovative programming, which has included unusual works as well as an album devoted to trio arrangements of tango pieces by Astor Piazzolla. Things continue in a similarly innovative vein with Her Voice, which offers music by Louise Farrenc, Amy Beach, and Rebecca Clarke. The best thing is that they find offbeat pieces by Beach and Clarke, who are increasingly often performed. Sample the late Beach Piano Trio, Op. 150 (1939), where Beach adds Impressionist elements to her style and creates a moody, uncertain aesthetic. The trio by Clarke, from 1921, is also uncommon; closer to the center of the composer's output, it is a rich late-Romantic work. The revaluation of music by women has largely missed, so far, the music of Farrenc, who during her own life, was a professor at the Paris Conservatory and was quite well known. A student of Reicha, she wrote German sonata-style works and didn't fall into the march of French tradition that was of the most interest to posterity. However, her Piano Trio No. 1 in E flat major, Op. 33, is a wonderful work, both elegant and enthusiastic, that could enliven any chamber recital. Highly recommended.

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