The Lincoln Trio takes the listener on a musical journey full of energy, vigor, and excellent timing. Lera Auerbach's Trio for violin, cello, and piano keeps the three musicians on their toes, always anticipating the beat and playing with clockwork precision and synchronicity (one can also hear this in Augusta Read Thomas' Moon Jig). This is absolutely critical to the music, or else it would simply collapse. Stacy Garrop's Seven for piano trio begins rather inaudibly, with a menacing low piano before the cello enters. The lush piano dissonances (amplified by the use of the echo pedal) are punctuated by the violin. There is indeed a dark and deathly quality to it, and yet the composer certainly has enjoyed experimenting with different tone colors, allowing for passages of passion. Composer Jennifer Higdon also composes with color, although in a more concrete sense. Her Piano Trio is a study in synesthesia. The first movement is her musical representation of "Pale Yellow," whereas the second "Fiery Red. Yellow" is performed with great sensitivity, a liquidly vibrating violin that is closely knit with the cello's voice. "Red" is incredibly energetic, with a fast violin full of running passages, shards, and slurs, with the piano running along in a chase. Again, there is not a false beat in this (for lack of a better expression) atonal fugue. Clearly, the Lincoln Trio has chosen repertoire that is perfect for it, and it does the music justice. One can repeat the same comment for Laura Elise Schwendinger's C'è la Luna Questa Sera?, where the violinist gives it her all, and the long lines in the work allow her to soar and sing. The album concludes with a piece by Joan Tower. Her Trio Cavany is probably the most "classical" or least modern-sounding of the works on this album, and it begins with a striking, vulnerable solo violin that draws the listener in, and then gives way to the solo cello. Both the violinist and cello have excellent bow technique that is bold yet expressive, carrying a lot of vibrato. Tower has written some great lines for string instruments here. The pianist has to stay energetic to keep up with the other two instruments, and only a strong artist like Marta Aznavoorian could make the listener forget how much work it takes. In all, this album is a unique entity with works by talented women composers and a talented group of musicians who deserve to be lauded.
Review by V. Vasan
|Trio, for violin, cello and piano|