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Merrill Clark (b. 1951): Works for Piano Trio / di.vi.sion piano trio

Album Summary

>Clark, Merrill : Prime Divisions, for violin, cello & piano
>Clark, Merrill : Eighth Avenue Tango, for violin & piano
Performers Ensemble Composer

Notes & Reviews:

The di.vi.sion piano trio (Kurt Briggs, violin; Matt Goeke, cello; Renée Cometa Briggs, piano) was formed in 2001. Its repertoire ranges from Haydn and De Fesch to Shostakovich and Ravel. The ensemble regularly programs and commissions new works that incorporate the musical structure of division. This recording of Merrill Clark's music includes Prime Divisions, which interweaves the compositional techniques of division with the composer's own system. The other work on the recording, Eighth Avenue Tango, was written as a birthday gift for violinist Kurt Briggs. Merrill Clark (b. 1951) has written many works in a wide variety of genres, from unaccompanied solo works to large-scale orchestral works. Clark finds writing for virtuoso musicians, whose playing one admires and who are also good friends, as the most gratifying creative event possible. The performances on this recording reflect the strong connection between the composer and performers.

American Record Guide, May/June 2016
Merrill Clark's record consists of a five-movement piano trio, followed by a short 'Eighth Avenue Tango' for the same instruments. The trio's movements have their own themes and forms: 'Divisions in Meter', 'Theme and Variations', 'Aria', 'Song', and 'Passacaglia-Divisions en Canon'. The music is a negotiation between the old and the new. The old is traditional forms and approaches to expression. Merrill's new lies more in calculations behind the scenes, like a series of complex polyrhythmic modulations and symmetrical or palindromic metrical schemes. These mathematically oriented compositional techniques are mostly present in the outer movements, with "divisions" in their titles. While these structures are audible to a certain extent, much of the surface of the music remains quite consonant and palatable. I enjoyed my time with it.

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: Mary Flagler Cary Hall, DiMenna Center for Classical Mu (08/07/2014).



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Works Details

>Clark, Merrill : Prime Divisions, for violin, cello & piano
  • Ensemble: Di.Vi.Sion Piano Trio
  • Running Time: 55 min. 50 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Form: Chamber Music
  • Written: 2013

>Clark, Merrill : Eighth Avenue Tango, for violin & piano
  • Performers: Kurt Briggs (Violin); Renee Briggs (Piano)
  • Ensemble: Di.Vi.Sion Piano Trio
  • Running Time: 5 min. 2 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Written: 2011