SOUNDS OF AMERICA
‘Explosive and heartfelt’: Trio Solisti play Dvořák simply and with plenty of expression. In all, Brawn’s most persuasive work holds interest and I’ll be curious to hear this pianist as he faces bigger challenges ahead on his Beethoven Odyssey. Jed Distler
Dvořák Piano Trios – No 3, Op 65 B130; No 4, ‘Dumky’, Op 90 B166 Trio Solisti Bridge F BRIDGE9393 (71’ • DDD)
Dvořák from the Adelphi University resident trio Dvo∑ák’s four trios for piano, violin and cello are staples of the chamber-music repertoire, especially the last two, which show the Czech composer at his most eloquent and dramatic height. Trio Solisti take up the two final trios with consummate attention to changing moods, interaction and narrative sweep.
The spirit of Brahms is never far from Dvo∑ák’s art but the Czech master’s voice is so ingrained in the sounds of his country that his music possesses an inimitable personality. In the Third Trio in F minor, Op 65, the Trio Solisti players emphasise the folk inspiration through flexible phrasing and subtle gradation of dynamics.
The performance is an intense meeting of musical minds, as is the account of the
Fourth Trio in E minor, Op 90, that follows. As shaped by violinist Maria Bachmann, cellist Alexis Pia Gerlach and pianist Jon Klibonoff, the Dumky Trio emerges as an explosive and heartfelt series of emotional scenes. Each of the six movements inhabits its own expressive world, yet the musicians maintain a through-line that connects the journeys of the various dumky.
As beloved and familiar as Dvo∑ák’s trios may be, it would be difficult to imagine interpretations that make a better case for the vibrancy of the composer’s achievements. Bachmann applies a silver glow and penetrating urgency to every line in close alliance with Gerlach’s aristocratic fervour and Klibonoff’s thoughtful pianism. Solisti they surely are but these players also epitomise cohesion and intimacy. Donald Rosenberg
Fairouz Tahwidah a . Chorale Fantasy b . Native Informant c . Posh d . For Victims e . Jebel Lebnan f a Melissa Hughes sop d Christopher Thompson baritenor e David Kravitz bar a David Krakauer cl c Rachel Barton Pine vn d Stephen Spooner pf f Imani Winds; be Borromeo Quartet Naxos American Classics S 8 559744 (78’ • DDD • T/t) r
Naxos’s snapshot of meteoric New York composer Fairouz gramophone.co.uk
Most composers under 30 have to hustle to get musicians to play their music. By all appearances, Mohammed Fairouz (b1985) has them lining up. From clarinettist David Krakauer (the first sound we hear on the recording) to the Imani Winds (whose final Jebel Lebnan chronicles the effects of the Lebanese civil war on the country), Fairouz is clearly blessed with people who want to champion his music and can smoothly deliver what it stylistically demands.
Many cultural influences collide in Fairouz’s work, yet none is used merely for effect. Indeed, working through those collisions is much of the point. The title-piece, Native Informant, a 2011 sonata for solo violin (brilliantly rendered by Rachel Barton Pine), draws from sources as diverse as Arabic round dance and American cabaret. Chorale Fantasy (2010), played here by the Borromeo Quartet, brilliantly marries Arabic maqa¯m modality with the counterpoint of a Bach chorale.
The songs, too, cover much ground, with texts ranging from Wayne Koestenbaum’s Best-Selling Jewish Porn Films in Fairouz’s Posh (2011) to his rather elegiac Tadwidah (2008), in which a mother speaks to her dead son at his funeral. In both cases, from the aptly dubbed ‘baritenor’ Christopher Thompson to soprano Melissa Hughes, the respective vocalism is supremely nuanced. Despite a wide range in
GRAMOPHONE AUGUST 2013 III