FLOURISHES is the third album by one of New Zealand’s most accomplished classical groups. Playing with the boundaries of contemporary chamber music, NZTrio brings its much-heralded blend of contrasting works to its new album, which provides a snapshot of the type of programme the group loves to perform live.
Recent NZTrio commissions by Wayan Yudane and Eve de Castro Robinson are very much at home among the masterworks of Mozart and Ravel, with Arvo Pärt’s lovely take on a Mozart Adagio in the middle, forming what the trio calls a ‘fascinating and unexpected mix’.
FLOURISHES was a finalist for Best Classical Album at the 2010 Vodafone New Zealand Music Awards.
A watery theme pervades this NZTrio's third album, particularly the new commissions - "Entering the Stream" by Wellington-based Indonesian composer Wayan Gde Yudane and "At Water's Birth" by Auckland's Eve de Castro-Robinson. Yudane's eddying piano, playful pizzicato and occasional jazz harmonies contrast with de Castro-Robinson's sombre otherworldliness. Well known for commissioning, the NZTrio hit on a couple of stunners here. Works by Arvo Part, Mozart and Ravel complete the recording.
Sarah Watkins (piano), Justine Cormack (violin) and Ashley Brown (cello) have played together since forming this trio in 2002, and they have developed a splendid rapport. This is their third album, which features the same varied programme the group played in Dunedin last November.
It ranges from Mozart's Piano Trio K.502, to Ravel's Piano Trio, with contemporary works by Aarvo Part, Indonesian Wayan Yudane, and New Zealand composer Eve de Castro-Robinson. The last two wrote commissioned works for the trio.
Mozart sparkles and his ideas are explored by Part in a reconstruction of an adagio movement from a piano sonata. The major work is the Ravel trio, which is beautifully played, apart from the second movement's sprightly dance lagging slightly in tempo.
Highlight: Yudane's gamelan-influenced Entering the Stream, with imitative birdcalls.
Geoff Adams - Otago Daily Times
Truly high-quality piano trio - Flourishes CD
NZTrio are a truly high-quality piano trio whose concerts are a mixture of the established classics from a rich repertoire and new music, much of which they commission themselves. But I'm not sure they always get the mix right in concert; in their eagerness to create a more progressive image they often offer a musical mish-mash. But make no mistake they are superb musicians and this new CD shows this in spades. But does a mix of Mozart, Ravel, Arvo Part and two New Zealand domiciled composers make a satisfactory release? The works by Wellington-based Indonesian composer I Wayan Gde Yudane and Aucklander Eve de Castro Robinson are both fascinating pieces, but they may find a divided market for those wanting the established classics.
Whatever, those deciding to purchase will be rewarded by superb playing and rich recording, highlighted by a stunning assumption of Ravel's wonderful Piano Trio - a performance that would be reason enough to buy the disc.
We congratulate all those students who entered our second NZTrio Composing Competition: Turn a Phrase – we had two days of immersive and inspiring sessions reading through your scores. To find out who has advanced to the workshop level, click on this link: http://nztrio.com/composing-competition/
It was exciting to see words and imagery from a vast range of New Zealand writers and poets given new context through each composer's distinct musical language and we look forward to sharing our thoughts at the workshops in a couple of weeks!
Aaaand to help you with that 3:30'itis on this not-so-fine Thursday avo - one more from our FLARE series with Simon O'Neil performing #JulietPalmer's work Vermilion Songs. Thanks to SOUNZ Resound project, it can be relived :)
The Resound project brings you films of three works from the beautifully restored Great Hall at the Arts Centre of Christchurch. In November 2016 the members of NZTrio (Justine Cormack - violin, Ashley Brown - cello, Sarah Watkins - piano) teamed up with their old friend, the internationally renowned Wagnerian tenor Simon O'Neill, for a programme of works ranging from Bach to a new commission of Juliet Palmer, with arrangements of Strauss and Mahler (by New Zealanders Alex Taylor and Kenneth Young respectively) in between.
We start with Juliet Palmer's 'Vermillion Songs', a setting of six poems by Emily Dickinson that travel "insights of science, through contemplation of pain, disorientation, a return to consciousness, acceptance of the fragility of existence, to a final song of death." The composer writes of her hope of offering listeners, "a fresh glimpse into the poetry of the human body".
'Vermillion Songs' was composed with funding from Creative New Zealand. Resound is funded by NZ On Air. The sound recording used in this film was realised by Alex van den Broek.