Trio Parnassus

Peteris Vasks: Piano Trio; Piano Quartet

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At the climaxes of both these chamber works by Latvian composer Péteris Vasks are love songs. The eight-movement piano trio called Episodi e Canto perpetuo from 1985 reaches its peak with the achingly beautiful Canto perpetuo while the six-movement Quartet for piano from 2000-2001 achieves its apogee in the searingly effective Canto principale. Vasks harmonic language is fundamentally tonal, though with some fairly fearsome dissonances, and his sensibility is resolutely post-modernist, though shot through with a neo-romantic expressivity. Performed here with insight and strength by the Trio Parnassus, Vasks works hard to be understood by his listeners, and though his expressive range is wide and deep, the Parnassus players get it all to make musical and dramatic sense. Recorded in transparent yet palpable digital sound by Musikproduktion Dabringhaus und Grimm, this disc deserves to be heard by fans of the composer and by listeners who like contemporary music of the not especially fearsome variety.

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