Spark

The brightest new stars in the firmament of New Zealand chamber music, NZTrio here make their debut recording with a programme of works they have made their own in concerts throughout New Zealand and overseas.

Over the last decade or so, a number of piano trios made up of outstanding individual musicians have formed and re-formed in New Zealand, and this particular instrumental combination has appealed to the country’s leading composers, who have produced an exceedingly fine body of work in the genre.

The members of NZTrio, each notable musicians in their own right, together make up a formidably powerful ensemble, and their performances in this recital showcase the vitality, beauty and sheer emotional impact of works by John Psathas, Gareth Farr, Penelope Axtens, Michael Norris, Maria Grenfell and Victoria Kelly.

 

Spark was a finalist for Best Classical Album at the 2006 Vodafone New Zealand Music Awards.

 

Download in iTunes

From the press

One of New Zealand’s dashing, young and direct chamber ensembles have released their first CD. NZTrio’s first commercial outing is fittingly entitled Spark (which deserves to be preceded by “Bright”). Violinist Justine Cormack, cellist Ashley Brown and pianist Sarah Watkins have impressive credentials and when they combine there are fireworks (try the third of the Island Songs for energy and verve).

Review by: Kate Mead
  • John Psathas (NZ): Island Songs

    I (exc.)

    II (exc.)

    III (exc.)

     

    Victoria Kelly (NZ): Sono (exc.)

     

    Michael Norris (NZ): dirty pixels (exc.)

     

    Maria Grenfell (NZ): A Feather of Blue (exc.)

     

    Penelope Axtens (NZ): For Violin, Violoncello and Piano (exc.)

     

    Gareth Farr (NZ): Ahi

    Trio 

    Scherzo

    Interlude

    Finale (exc.)

  • ADDITIONAL REVIEWS

    Ensemble of bright sparks

     

    With its generous 74 minutes of music and Trust Records' usual exemplary attention to technical matters, it easily falls into the category of obligatory purchases.

     

    It's the cover image of Gretchen Albrecht's lithograph Core that is most likely to catch your eye if you see the New Zealand Trio's Spark album in your record store. 

Once again, Wellington's Trust Records have the knack of finding just the right piece of local art to complement the music on a CD. Listen to the coruscating textures of John Psathas' first Island Song and you may well imagine Albrecht's hypnotic reds pulsating in sympathy.

     

    NZTrio has commissioned widely and shrewdly, and this collection benefits from that, even if the two major pieces here have been picked up from the Ogen Trio's repertoire. 

These six composers featured show the range of New Zealand music out there, and show us the different approaches possible in writing for an ensemble of violin, cello and piano.

     

    Island Songs, from 1995, is the oldest offering, two pieces of merciless propulsion surrounding a fragile take on the Greek zeibekiko dance, its many emotions and textures beautifully graduated. 

Victoria Kelly's Sono - with sliding, reverberant soundscapes and dynamic shock tactics - takes brilliant advantage of the stereo spectrum, as does the downtown funk of Michael Norris' Dirty Pixels, the spacious recording adding a tight focus. 

Maria Grenfell's A Feather of Blue, responding to a Kevin Ireland poem, flutters towards the impressionistic. Penelope Axten's For Violin, Violoncello, and Piano is more abstract and colouristic, running the gamut from subdued to savage. 

The collection ends with a hyper-energetic performance of the nearest thing on the disc to a traditional trio, Gareth Farr's four-movement Ahi. Disarmingly tuneful, with the sort of rhythmic lift that the Wellington composer has put his stamp on, this is immediate in the most life-enhancing sense of the word.

     

    All in all, Justine Cormack, Ashley Brown and Sarah Watkins have come up with a most attractive package, and the first to gather together New Zealand music for their medium. 

With its generous 74 minutes of music and Trust Records' usual exemplary attention to technical matters, it easily falls into the category of obligatory purchases.

     

    William Dart - New Zealand Herald

    Vital for your collection

    One of New Zealand’s dashing, young and direct chamber ensembles have released their first CD. NZTrio’s first commercial outing is fittingly entitled Spark (which deserves to be preceded by “Bright”). Violinist Justine Cormack, cellist Ashley Brown and pianist Sarah Watkins have impressive credentials and when they combine there are fireworks (try the third of the Island Songs for energy and verve).

     

    The line-up of composers is equally impressive, a veritable who’s who of New Zealand composers – Athens Olympics composer John Psathas; Victoria Kelly of Strawpeople and the soundtrack for Magik and Rose; Michael Norris, winner of the Douglas Lilburn Prize and co-founder of Stroma; Maria Grenfell, lecturer at the University of Tasmania; Penelope Axtens, winner of the Music 2000 Prize; and Gareth Farr, who wrote the music for the stage show Maui. If you’ve never made the acquaintance of New Zealand music, this would be a terrific place to start and, if you’re an aficionado, this is vital for your collection.

     

    

Kate Mead - NZ House and Garden Magazine, 22 February 2006 

     

    A Must Have for lovers of chamber music

     

    The NZTrio's first album is exemplary of contemporary chamber music at its finest. Composers Psathas, Kelly, Norris, Grenfell, Axtens, and Farr - with their vastly different musical influences - each demonstrate their craft and sensitivity toward the idiom. NZTrio finely attune themselves to the demands of each work, and in turn demonstrate their adaptability and dedication to the contemporary piano trio. A "must-have" for lovers of chamber music.

     

    

SOUNZ - Centre for New Zealand Music

Subscribe to E-news

Latest from Facebook

NZTrio
NZTrioTuesday, September 19th, 2017 at 3:55pm
Congrats Jeroen - superb piece of music :)
NZTrio
SOUNZ Centre for New Zealand Music
This week we’re featuring SOUNZ Contemporary Award finalist Jeroen Speak, who is nominated with ’Serendipity Fields’. This is the second time Jeroen has been nominated for the Award. “It is very inspiring seeing the high quality of new music being composed by New Zealand's younger generation today. Salina Fisher and Chris Gendall are both remarkable composers, with unique voices, I congratulate them both.” Jeroen introduces 'Serendipity Fields' below and you can read more about him and the work on SOUNZ Online: http://bit.ly/2xhZoOk APRA AMCOS NZ RNZ Concert NZ On Air NZTrio #silverscrolls17
NZTrio
NZTrioWednesday, September 6th, 2017 at 10:20am
Last two outings of Exotica (before heading to Kokomai Festival) are this weekend Sept 9 and 10 at #MairangiBayArtsCentre and Leigh Sawmill Cafe - tickets via Eventfinda NZ. This is a RIPPER of a programme, performed in fantastic venues - don't miss it!
NZTrio
NZTrio
NZTrioFriday, September 1st, 2017 at 5:31pm
Shout out to our fabulous friends at #WORLDBrand, live streaming their show at #NZFW 8.30pm tonight - we'll be watching! Why don't you join us? https://www.facebook.com/WORLDBRAND/photos/a.225832990764414.74363.225828760764837/1810424325638598/?type=1&theater
NZTrio
NZTrioMonday, August 28th, 2017 at 3:26pm
So great when someone who is new to your work says all the right things! Hope you'll join us for EXOTICA with guest violinist #AndrewBeer at Nathan Homestead this weekend (perfect #FathersDay gift!) Sept 3, 5pm. Tickets via #Eventfinda:http://bit.ly/NZTrio0903
NZTrio
NZTrio
NZTrioThursday, August 24th, 2017 at 10:07am
Thanks for a great day #MacleansCollege - lovely kids with awesome ideas!
NZTrio
NZTrioTuesday, August 22nd, 2017 at 3:57pm
So thrilled that another of our commissions is a finalist for this year's SOUNZ Contemporary Award - way to go, Jeroen!! And a big congrats to the other finalists, our friends Chris Gendall and Salina Fisher - the depth and quality of New Zealand music is truly extraordinary, and we couldn't be more proud. Check out the video links of the finalists - stunning stuff!!

Latest from Twitter

© 2015-2017
Made in Tel Aviv, Israel by Virtuti-D
rfwbs-sliderfwbs-sliderfwbs-slide