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Notable Women: Trios By Today's Female Composers

5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Audio CD, August 30, 2011
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Editorial Reviews

Œuvres de Auerbach, Garrop, Higdon, Schwendinger, Thomas, Tower / Lincoln Trio
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Digital Booklet: Notable Women
Digital Booklet: Notable Women
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Product Details

  • Performer: Lincoln Trio, Desiree Ruhstrat, David Cunliffe, Marta Aznavoorian
  • Composer: Lera Auerbach, Stacy Garrop, Jennifer Higdon, Laura Elise Schwendinger, Augusta Read Thomas, et al.
  • Audio CD (August 30, 2011)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Cedille Records
  • ASIN: B005A0FD98
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #299,782 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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This is an unusual program of new Piano Trios written by women composers. All of them are interesting, accessible, and veer towards the serious side of expression. For me, the highlight of the recording is the trio by Lera Auerbach, who can do no wrong as a composer; everything she writes is gold. Her Piano Trio is infused with her customary dark intensity. Although concise in length, it is a powerful curtain-opener. The first movement has a grotesque and angular character with startling sonic effects; yelping noises on the strings imitate the cries of seagulls. Bleak and frozen spaciousness characterizes the second movement, the emotional heart of the trio, with a piano part that has the haunting hypnotic quality of Feldman. The trio concludes with a bang in the third movement: violent agitation, whirlwinds of notes, booming tone clusters, distortion on the strings, and eerie throbs of lower-bass piano chords.

Most outstanding for originality on this recording is Stacy Garrop's Piano Trio (1998): a psychological portrait of the character Seven from the TV show, Star Trek Voyager. Some may scoff at this idea and wonder whatever happened to finding inspiration in Byron, Heine, and Baudelaire, but I love the idea of art music influenced by the Star Trek universe. Garrop's trio is inspired by a poem about death, as well. Taken as absolute music, this trio is somber, modern, and forceful. The work has all the trappings of a post-modernist aesthetic: violent atonality, tone clusters, and sonic effects like col legno, distortion, and glissandi. Initially the piece is barely audible with the piano dotting the soundscape in low bass material; gradually it builds towards powerful intensity with severe clashes of chords.
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