American Record Guide

Not Rebecca Clarke, but Rhona Clarke, born in Dublin in 1958. The short Third Piano Trio opens the program, and it’s the most interest¬ing piece here. ‘Tenderly’ reminds me of Gavin Bryars but without the stamp of post-minimal¬ism. Clarke is more dissonant, but she has a similar coolness that doesn’t quite conceal the hint of a smile. ‘Expectantly’ is quicker; it is a constant tug of war between pointillism and snippets of melodies. Gleann Da Loch (Glen of Two Lakes) is a rhapsodic, willful nine-minute piano piece with whispered thoughts, ringing bells, and vine-like strings of notes grown wild. Sorabji would approve.

The even-shorter Second Piano Trio has a meditative I with the strings playing mysterious but warm lines over slow, nearly atonal piano chords. It is in mixed meter with the rhythms of a restrained but insistent Bartok. Con Coro is for violin, cello, and tape; it starts with sampled Gregorian chant that soon gives way to oceanic growling, then come whistles and glissandos, jittery pizzicatos, and finally tonal drones. The piece is all about atmosphere.

The Fourth Piano Trio is disjunct and very dissonant; though it has some humanity, it is rather faceless and aimless. A cello medita¬tion, ‘In Umbra,’ ends the program quietly. The Fidelio Trio is fine musicians with an excellent sound. The engineering makes the piano sound recessed, but that’s a minor problem. Notes are in English.

—Stephen Estep