Trios from our Homeland
The Observer - Fiona Maddocks - "impassioned" - October 2016
"Other than her viola sonata, Rebecca Clarke's superb trio is her most recorded work. It's an excellent work and one that any lover of Shostakovich's chamber music will enjoy. It's evocative and tightly composed, united by a recurring fanfare motif, here buried sometimes in the texture, not as obvious as the Lion's Gate Trio I reviewed before (J/A 2015). Also, the rhythms of the final Irish jig are square, less sprung than the Lion's Gate. Still, it is a very good performance, just different: it's more patient and atmospheric, with less emphasis on structural clarity.
The trio of Arno Babadjanyan (1921-83) is his most recorded work. Heard blind, almost any listener would think it's by fellow Armenian Aram Khachaturian based on its rhythms and melodic contours, especially the vigorous and muscular finale that's straight out of Gayane or Spartacus. I is big-boned, brooding, and declamatory, piano redolent of early Rachmaninoff like his famous C-sharp minor Prelude. The slow movement is tender and singing, like Khachaturian shorn of his modernist dissonance. It's from 1952 but sounds more like 1892.
The album's title applies not at all to Swiss composer Frank Martin's Trio on Popular Irish Melodies, a charming and winsome piece reminding me of Grieg's late piano work Slatter. Its three movements set Irish folk tunes in gently dissonant 20th-Century harmonies. It's quite warm and approachable for a composer whose music, though colorful, is often cool and cerebral. Where Clarke's Irish jig is implied, Martin's Gigue finale puts the high-stepping tune front and center, as do the musicians.
The recording is powerful, clear, with honest balance among the players, the piano's bass notes well caught, full and resounding- essential for the beefy piano textures of Babadjanyan's trio. Both strings have sweet and manicured tone and intonation, yet plenty of fire without harshness in fortissimo passages. You're in good hands with these fine musicians and Cedille's excellent sound."
- American Record Guide. (January-February 2017)
Turina: Chamber Music for Strings and Piano
Online reviews of Turina Chamber Music for Strings and Piano:
Already a phenomenal critical success, Notable Women has been recommended by the New Yorker Magazine's Alex Ross on The Rest is Noise as well as:
Naxos "Critics Choice January 2012"
WQXR New York "Album of the Week"
Guardian UK "Hidden Gems of 2011"
Zantion "Recording of the Month"
PDF reviews of Notable Women:
"The Lincoln Trio takes the listener on a musical journey full of energy, vigor, and excellent timing ... 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."
"This disc, their first full CD release, on the Chicago-based Cedille label is a revelation! This is a marvelous program and the Lincoln Trio performs brilliantly. They are wonderful musicians with a very clear and most gratifying commitment to contemporary music."
"Hard to say who's most "notable": violinist Desiree Ruhstrat, pianist Marta Aznavoorian, cellist David Cunliffe, or the six composers featured on this excellent collection. The musicians, certainly, do their part, rendering the scores with masterly finesse, but the composers do the boundary-pushing. Jennifer Higdon's trio aims to evoke literal color, while Lera Auerbach's trio sets a new standard of personal expression. Also "notable" are works by Augusta Read Thomas and Joan Tower. Grade: A"
- Zachary Lewis, Cleveland Plain Dealer music critic
"It’s a standard-setter for sure, displaying the technical polish and emotional depth of the Lincolns (Desirée Ruhstrat is a fast-fingered violinist, Marta Aznavoorian a soulful pianist and David Cunliffe a cellist whose polish gives way to moments of artful recklessness)." .....Higdon’s two-movement work is not only indicative of the composer’s uncanny, borderline synesthete ability to coax out a rainbow of yellow and red tones from her instrumentalists, but also the Lincolns’s flair for the same. It’s a work that has been recorded before with equally sharp players, but this particular blend is one of those moments in which you cannot imagine any other musicians take on this work and have it sound so complete. Here there’s no gender, just pure music."