Amelia Piano Trio

John Harbison: Piano Trio No. 2

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Listeners who aren't already devoted fans of American composer John Harbison might find themselves converted after hearing this album. His music is utterly gripping, engaging, and accessible. This album centers around Harbison's Second Piano Trio, which he claims was inspired by the unpredictable nature of the Haydn piano trios. Performed and commissioned by the Amelia Piano Trio, the work proves that there is still much to be written for this classic combination of instruments. From the melancholy opening of the "Enigma" movement to the brutally rhythmic conclusion of "Rumors and Reports," the Amelia Trio does the composer much honor with its vigor, musical integrity, pristine intonation, and demonstrative presentation of this exciting work. The trio's violinist transforms into a splendid violist for Harbison's The Violist's Notebooks, a set of 12 quasi-etude gems for solo viola. Cellist Jason Duckles is also called upon for solo work in the Suite for Solo Cello, this time inspired by Bach's solo suites. In these larger works, as well as the other shorter pieces that adorn this recording, the performances are as fantastic as the compositions themselves. Harbison fans and chamber music aficionados owe it to themselves to obtain this album.

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