David Nisbet Stewart composer
Emma-Ruth Richards composer
Joanne D. Carey composer
Allyson B. Wells composer
L Peter Deutsch composer
Christopher Brakel composer
Clare Shore composer
Keith Kramer composer
Mathew Fuerst composer
Sylvia Ahramjian violin
Ovidiu Marinescu cello
Anna Kislitsyna piano
Acclaimed international piano trio Trio Casals makes a triumphant return with the fourth installment of Navona Records’ MOTO series, zestfully interpreting nine new American compositions – virtually all of them either tailor-made or arranged for the ensemble.
The opening track, Three for Three by David Nisbet Stewart, could almost be considered a neoclassical piano trio – if you’re thinking along the lines of Prokofiev’s Love for Three Oranges. Like his Russian predecessor, Stewart chose to endow his composition with a perspicacious structure, along which the motives and modulations climb like vines on a trellis.
By contrast, the structure of Joanne Carey’s Piano Trio No.2 evolves from its themes and motifs which are varied and transformed throughout. Marked by sudden changes of mood, the trajectory of the piece is an overcoming of inner turmoil through the musical flow itself. In a similar vein, Keith Kramer utilizes Japanese and Northern Hindustani musical materials in a Modernist context in the aptly-titled Suspension of Disbelief.
Of course, where there is emotion, there must also be sentiment. Allyson Wells’ Since Then is a wistful meditation about the fact that mostly it is loss that teaches us about the value of things. L Peter Deutsch presents a lyrical, uncompromisingly aesthetic reminiscence about a day’s end in a Southern French town in Sunset at Montélimar. In Day Tripping, the listener joins Clare Shore in two cherished kayak paddles down memory lane; in the first movement, down Florida’s eponymous Peace River; in the second movement, down the agitated, surging, snaking, treacherous Juniper Run in the Ocala Forest.
The outstanding attention to detail paid by Trio Casals as a whole is interspersed with works of solo performers in two instances. One of them is Emma-Ruth Richards’ Dark Radiance, a somber piece for solo cello (performed by Tim Gills). The other, Christopher Brakel’s Poem (performed by Ovidiu Marinescu), reflects the cryptic, subjective nature of modern poetry, with its dramatic sense involuntarily alluding to the madrigals of Carlo Gesualdo.
In the closing minutes of MOTO QUARTO, Mathew Fuerst’s Totentanz (literally: death dance) somewhat belies somber expectations, for it refuses to ever be a mournful piece: rather, it examines the problem of (over-)population with mathematical mirth.
MOTO QUARTO features an eclectic, at times even daring, selection of compositions, no doubt; but this variety, which might have challenged a lesser ensemble, only serves as a touchstone for the virtuoso reception by Trio Casals.
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David Nisbet Stewart
David Nisbet Stewart is a composer, pianist, and organist. His career began in academia and migrated into computer technology from 1979 onward. His style of composing also changed as he pursued a new occupation. He believes that leaving academia for the business world was a great benefit to his art. Music is the business of entertainment; the composer must satisfy, even delight, the paying audience. His compositions connect with the listener’s ear and heart.
Emma-Ruth Richards is a composer much in demand in the UK and overseas, acclaimed for her understanding of both instrumental and vocal writing which has earned her a role as a favorite among musicians and singers.
Joanne D. Carey
Joanne D. Carey studied composition with Lou Harrison, Tikey Zes, and Alan Strange at San Jose State University where she earned B.A. and M.A. degrees (1979, 1986). She spent a decade (1983-1993) as a visiting composer at Stanford University’s Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics (CCRMA) during which she composed three computer-generated pieces.
Allyson B. Wells
Allyson B. Wells began composing and arranging as a teenager, when her name was Allyson Brown, and was 18 when her first arrangement, for choir, was commercially published. Two years later, one of her compositions was commercially published. She has earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees and Ph.D., all in music composition, and has taught music theory and composition at the university level since the 1980’s.
L Peter Deutsch
L Peter Deutsch is a native of Massachusetts, now living in Sonoma County CA, and British Columbia, Canada. His early music education included performance and composition for voice, piano, and recorder. He received his M.A. degree in composition in 2011, studying with Frank La Rocca.
Christopher Brakel (b. 1977) is a composer of acoustic and electro-acoustic music, an educator/arts advocate, a music copyist/engraver, and a technology consultant.
Clare Shore the second woman to earn the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Composition from The Juilliard School, has received critical acclaim for her works, with reviewers from The New York Times, New York Post, Boston Globe, Washington Post, and others hailing her works as "provocative," "immensely dramatic," "unpretentious," "ingenious and evocative," "intriguing," and "romantic to the core."
Keith Kramer is a composer of over 40 works for orchestra, chamber ensembles, solo instruments and electronic media. Keith Kramer's music is at times subtle and restrained, and other times ferocious and demanding. Always searching for new modes of expression, each piece that Keith composes represents another facet of a continuous journey of discovery. Keith’s music has also been performed and recorded by the Slovak National Symphony Orchestra, the Moravian Philharmonic Orchestra, David Taylor, Leonard Garrison and many others.
A recipient of two consecutive Palmer-Dixon Prizes for best composition presented by The Juilliard School, composer Mathew Fuerst (b. 1977) has also received third prize in the 2nd Annual Antonín Dvořák Composition Competition held in Prague CZ.
Since making a highly acclaimed debut at the 1996 edition of the Pablo Casals Festival in Puerto Rico, Trio Casals has delighted audiences with spectacular virtuosity, engaging enthusiasm, and exquisite musical elegance. During the 2020-21 season, Trio Casals recorded their sixth and seventh albums for Parma Recordings with new violinist Alexandr Kislitsyn, who continues the great tradition established by Sylvia Ahramjian. MOTO ETERNO was released to critical acclaim in the spring of 2021 and will be premiered in concert in Weill Hall at Carnegie Hall. The Trio’s A GRAND JOURNEY was released September 2021 on Navona Records.
Ovidiu Marinescu, a native of Romania, is active as a cellist, conductor, composer, and educator. He has performed at Carnegie Hall, Merkin Hall, the Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatory, Rachmaninov Hall, Holywell Room in Oxford, Oriental Art Center in Shanghai, and many other venues around the world. He has appeared as a soloist with the New York Chamber Symphony, the National Radio Orchestra of Romania, Moscow Chamber Orchestra, Helena and Newark Symphonies, Southeastern Pennsylvania Symphony Orchestra, the Cleveland Philharmonic, Limeira Symphony in Brazil, Orquesta de Extremadura in Spain, and most orchestras in Romania.
Pianist and harpsichordist Anna Kislitsyna made her solo debut at age 10 with the Omsk Symphony Orchestra. She remains in high demand as a soloist, collaborative pianist, and educator. Recent season highlights include five new album productions with PARMA Recordings and two release concerts in Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall, performing Haydn and Shostakovich Piano Concertos with Helena Symphony and Southeastern Pennsylvania Symphony Orchestra, and returning to the Omsk Philharmonic as a soloist to give the inaugural performance on the new harpsichord.