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Elements Eternal' - Music for piano trio by Brian Current (b.1972); Andrew Staniland (b.1977); Michael Oesterle (b.1968); James Wright (b.1959) / Julie Nesrallah, mz

Album Summary

>Current, Brian : These Begin to Catch Fire, for piano trio
>Staniland, Andrew : Solstice Songs, for piano trio
>Oesterle, Michael : Centennials, for piano trio
>Wright, James K. : Letters to the Immortal Beloved, for voice & piano trio
Performer Ensemble Composers

Notes & Reviews:

These pieces are some of the best of many new works commissioned by the internationally acclaimed and award-winning Gryphon Trio. Brian Current’s These Begin to Catch Fire was inspired by patterns of brilliant sunlight reflecting off the waters of Lake Muskoka, while Andrew Staniland’s Solstice Songs is a lyrical exploration of time’s universal markers, described by the composer as ‘the poetry of sound’. Michael Oesterle’s Centennials is a tribute to three individuals who would have celebrated their 100th birthday in 2012, and James K. Wright’s song cycle was inspired by Beethoven’s passionate letters to his eternally mysterious “Immortal Beloved”.

American Record Guide, March/April 2016
Here are recent compositions by four contemporary Canadian composers commissioned by the Gryphon Trio, consisting of Annalee Patipatanakoon, violin; Roman Borys, cello; and Jamie Parker, piano. First is a 13-minute piece by Brian Current (b. 1972) describing in sound a sunlit scene on the shore of Lake Muskoka near Toronto with people apparently swimming in the lake. This takes me back to my childhood on the shore of Lake Cayuga and the beautiful sunny days there with my two brothers swimming about McKinney's Point. It is a piece that begins so quietly that one wonders if it is going to be minimalist, but it grows around one expressively.

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: Glenn Gould Studio, Toronto, Ontario, Canada (05/26/2014-05/28/2014).



Reviews

Engaging Canadian classics
I'm not very familiar with Canadian composers, so I was very interested in auditioning Elements Eternal. The release features world premier recordings from four Canadian composers. The works were commissioned by the Gryphon Trio, who performs them on this release.

It's a heady mix of music that I found appealing, intriguing, substantial and enjoyable. The Gryphon Trio gives each work its due; though the styles and approaches are different, the trio's sure-footed performances bring a certain consistency to the album as a whole.

"Solstice Songs" (2011) by Andrew Staniland is a three-movement contemplation on the change of seasons. Skittering strings, rumbling low register piano, and non-tonal motifs make this the most avant-garde work on the disc. Yet the motifs are easy to follow and the work's frenetic energy draw the listener in.

"Centennials" by Michael Oestrele provides musical portraits of three people who would have turned 100 in 2012: Julia Child, Conlon Nancarrow, and Jackson Pollock. Oestrele's music seems to get at the essence of each person, and does so in a good-natured fashion. I might not have identified the subjects without a program, but I definitely would have enjoyed the music nonetheless.

Brian Current's "These Begin to Catch Fire" bustles and glistens like the sun-lit water that inspired the work. The most conservative is "Letters to the Immortal Beloved," James K. Wright's 2012 work inspired by Beethoven's love letters. The work is for mezzo-soprano and piano trio, and has an appealing elegiac quality.

I still don't know much about Canadian composers. But I now know four I want to hear more of.
Submitted on 08/21/15 by RGraves321 
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Works Details

>Current, Brian : These Begin to Catch Fire, for piano trio
  • Ensemble: Gryphon Trio
  • Notes: Glenn Gould Studio, Toronto, Ontario, Canada (05/26/2014-05/28/2014)
  • Running Time: 13 min. 3 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Form: Chamber Music
  • Written: 2012

>Staniland, Andrew : Solstice Songs, for piano trio
  • Ensemble: Gryphon Trio
  • Notes: Glenn Gould Studio, Toronto, Ontario, Canada (05/26/2014-05/28/2014)
  • Running Time: 14 min. 24 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Form: Vocal
  • Written: 2011

>Oesterle, Michael : Centennials, for piano trio
  • Ensemble: Gryphon Trio
  • Notes: Glenn Gould Studio, Toronto, Ontario, Canada (05/26/2014-05/28/2014)
  • Running Time: 14 min. 8 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Written: 2012

>Wright, James K. : Letters to the Immortal Beloved, for voice & piano trio
  • Performer: Julie Nesrallah (Mezzo Soprano)
  • Ensemble: Gryphon Trio
  • Notes: Glenn Gould Studio, Toronto, Ontario, Canada (05/26/2014-05/28/2014)
  • Running Time: 15 min. 50 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Written: 2012