SACD & Other Hi-Res Reviews

“Play It Again” – Trio Arbós – [TrackList follows] Non-Profit Music

Not only is this a hugely enjoyable chamber trio in immersing hi-res surround, but it is also contained in one of the best of the jewelbox-alternative packages.

Published on April 1, 2012

“Play It Again” – Trio Arbós – [TrackList follows] Non-Profit Music multichannel SACD NPM 1012, 68:41 [Distr. by Albany] *****:

This little Spanish label with the forthright name is doing some fine releases. This piano trio of piano/cello/violin is Spain’s leading one, and the disc preserves one of their recital programs, built around the idea of a progression from very slow tempi to very fast ones. It lacks the audience applause, being a perfectionist studio recording, but the surround sonics couldn’t be better. The violin is there on the left of the soundstage, the piano centered, and the cello on the right.

In the English notes for the opening work, Kenji Bunch’s Slow Dance of 1973, is the best brief reference I have seen to the growing new audience for contemporary music since the strangle-hold of the “official avant-garde” has been broken. His work is indeed slow, with the feeling that something big is about to happen. It is also tonal, as are all the works here. Slovenian composer Marjan Mozetch’s Scales of joy and sorrow lives up to its title by making various scales the basis of much of the three-movement work, and in a most satisfying manner.

This is the world premiere of Jorge Grundman’s A Walk Across Adolescence, which is dedicated to composer Nikolai Kapustin and shares a jazzy influence much like that Ukrainian’s music (which we have reviewed). Calliope dreaming, by Kats-Chernin, uses elements of Haydn’s Symphony No. 44 “Mourning.”  The themes are rather placid and in the style of Haydn. The end of the “recital” has been done before, but to my ears not nearly as well as here: Paul Schoenfield’s Cafe Music. It’s been a hit with chamber ensembles since it was written in 1987. It has some simple and catchy song melodies, blues and spiritual-influenced sections, but most of all plenty of ragtime feeling. Plus it demands the greatest virtuosity of all three performers, which they deliver beautifully. The encore to the program is a change of pace, with Chick Corea’s Addendum (which incidentally means “addition.”). It really swings, with Chick’s unique mix of jazz, pop, rock and Latin music.

Not only is this a hugely enjoyable chamber trio in immersing hi-res surround, but it is also contained in one of the best of the jewelbox-alternative packages, bound like a small book, with a full color illustrated 32-page booklet and useful notes in English and Spanish.

TrackList:
BUNCH: Slow dance; MOZETICH: Scales of joy and sorrow – 1. slow and fast, 2. arabesque, 3. fast and slow; GRUNDMAN: A walk across adolescence; KATS-CHERNIN: Calliope dreaming; SCHOENFIELD: Cafe music – 1. allegro, 2. andante moderato rubato, 3. presto; COREA: Addendum

—John Sunier




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