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Notable Women: Trios by Today’s Female Composers

Lincoln Trio (Cedille).

Notable Women: Trios by Today’s Female Composers by Lincoln Trio

Notable Women: Trios by Today’s Female Composers by Lincoln Trio

The stretch of the music on this provocative CD from the Lincoln Trio (Desiree Ruhstrat, violin; David Cunliffe, cello;and Marta Aznavoorian, piano), magnificently performed, is a powerful indication of what the classical-music industry has in store for the future as women are fully liberated as composers.

Each piece adds intrigue and beauty to the piano trio repertoire. Those that speak most directly to the listener’s heart are the fruit of an apparent personal motivation beyond an assignment to write a piano trio. Lera Aurerbach’s Trio for violin, cello, and piano—a world premiere recording—is inspired by her childhood in Russia; Stacy Garrop’s “Seven” for piano trio, also a premiere, is inspired by Anne Sexton and Star Trek Voyager; Laura Elise Schwendinger’s “C’è la Luna Questa Sera?,” another premiere, reflects the moonlight on Lake Como; and Augusta Read Thomas “Moon Jig” came about when the composer found composing a jig to be “a spectacular goal.” Each came to the composition through memory, either real or longed for, tinged with a certain amount of sadness and laced occasionally with peculiar humor.

More structured is Jennifer Higdon’s Piano Trio, which plays around with melodies and harmonies as if they were colors being “spread on canvas.” Joan Tower’s 20-minute Trio Cavany, despite its length and the weight of a troika of institutional funders, is a gripping tour de force of piano trio virtuosity.

The CD booklet offers enormously detailed and invigorating program notes by the composers.

*This article appeared in Strings February 2012
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