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07.08.2014

2x3: Trio Accanto and Trio Catch

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Rarely has an intermission divided two disparate halves of a concert so markedly. Monday's Werkstattkonzert featured two trios of differing instrumentation and aesthetic. The first ensemble, Trio Accanto, is celebrating their 20th year together and consists of three tutors from the course, Nicolas Hodges (piano) Christian Dierstein (percussion) and Marcus Weiss (saxophone). Trio Catch, on the other hand, is a budding young group consisting of clarinet, cello, and piano, one of four ensembles promoted by the Ferienkurse's boost! program.


Trio Accanto opened with a new piece by Marina Khorkova, one of three winners of the 2014 Staubach Honoraria. The piece, klangNarbe for prepared piano, saxophonist doubling on baritone and soprano sax, and an arsenal of percussion, begins with the pianist drawing tape through the strings to create a steady if unstable low rumble. Bowed percussion instruments along with electric guitar feedback create an atmosphere of very high harmonics that the saxophonist imitates by improvising in the extreme altissimo register of the soprano sax. These unrelenting high notes caused many in the audience to protect their hearing so that eventually even the slightest hint that the piece was heading upwards caused a number of fingers to plug ears. These unrelenting high notes caused many in the audience to protect their hearing and eventually even the slightest hint that the piece was heading upwards caused a number of fingers to plug ears. Throughout the work the music repeatedly became gradually denser and denser before reverting to the static harmonic background, creating drama between activity and inactivity.

 

Hans Thomalla's Lied (2007/08, rev. 2012), required less doubling from the percussionist and saxophonist, scored for piano, tenor saxophone and vibraphone. Remarkably, Thomalla is able to show the similarity between these three dissimilar instruments, blending the quiet, woody sounds of the tenor and vibraphone with low range of the piano. In direct contrast to Lied, Mark Andre's durch (2004/05) is very percussive for all instruments. The percussionist joins after a brief solo piano opening, the soprano saxophone then adds to the percussive nature with secco slap-tongue articulation. As the audience listens along the music winds down in intensity eventually leaving only the chilling sound of air blowing through aluminium foil.

 

After the intermission, the Hamburg-based Trio Catch opened with an older Beat Furrer work, AER from 1991. AER features a long running clarinet moto perpetuo, with percussive piano gestures and cello harmonics adding to the texture, this constant motion is then deconstructed becoming more and more sparse. Sanh (2006) by Christophe Bertrand, was a very engaging piece, with the bass clarinet, cello and piano beginning on the same note which expands rapidly at differing rates for each voice only to regroup on a different note. As the piece loses energy we are left with the consonant sound of a major triad, cut off by the pianist hitting a percussion instrument (perhaps claves) to end the piece with a pop. The last work, Trio (1998) by Georges Aperghis, is in four short movements. Although the piece ends with the high energy of articulated staccato runs for the entire ensemble, Trio was the least convincing work on the concert; not Aperghis's most adventurous writing. Trio Catch performed with great care and virtuosity yet lacked the spontaneity and communication that the more experienced Trio Accanto delivered.

By Geoffrey Landman
07.08.2014

Rarely has an intermission divided two disparate halves of a concert so markedly. Monday's Werkstattkonzert featured two trios of differing instrumentation and aesthetic. The first ensemble, Trio Accanto, is celebrating their 20th year together and consists of three tutors from the course, Nicolas Hodges (piano) Christian Dierstein (percussion) and Marcus Weiss (saxophone). Trio Catch, on the other hand, is a budding young group consisting of clarinet, cello, and piano, one of four ensembles promoted by the Ferienkurse's boost! program.