Often done to increase the number of customers that would purchase a given musical publication as well as to reach a broader audience, the practice of transposition has been commonplace for centuries. In the 20th and 21st centuries, the practice was increasingly expanded to include more unique combinations of instruments resulting in products that could be peculiar or even unpleasant. Such is not the case with the tastefully and impeccably written heard on this Azica recording of the Massif Trio. Two guitars and a tenor are united for exceptionally enjoyable performances of Schumann's Dichterliebe, Schubert's four songs on poems by Salis-Seewis, and Strauss' Op. 29 Three Songs. Arranged by guitarist Jonathan Barlow, the utmost care is taken to ensure the original wishes of the composers were taken into account, even altering the tuning of the guitars to capture the complete range of the original piano accompaniment. The warm, gentle sound of the two guitars provides a wonderful backdrop for tenor Nathan Bird, allowing the subtle nuances of his voice to shine through without having to fight against the more powerful piano. As a whole, the Massif Trio produces a masterful performance filled with keen musical insight, evocative text painting, and enticing sound quality. At only 42 minutes in length, however, the short album will certainly leave listeners wishing there was a bit more on the program.
AllMusic Review by Mike D. Brownell
|Dichterliebe, Op. 48|
|Three Songs, Op. 29|