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Asia: Piano Trio, Violin Sonata / Oldfather, Ormrod, Macomber, Fortin, Soucek

Release Date: 10/14/2008 
Label:  Summit Records   Catalog #: 509   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Daniel Asia
Performer:  Richard OmrodFrantisek SoucekVladimir FortinChristopher Oldfather,   ... 
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 0 Hours 55 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

ASIA Piano Trio. 1 Violin Sonata 2 František Sou?ek (va); 1 Vladimir Fortin (vc); 1 Richard Ormrod (pn); 1 Curtis Macomber (vn); 2 Christopher Oldfather (pn) 2 SUMMIT 509 (57:02)
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This CD consists of two substantial chamber-music pieces that both exhibit strength and beauty, but expressed in different ways. The Violin Sonata, from 2001, is notable for an especially taut structure, a five movement arch with many elements of symmetry. There is a sprightly, even dance-like energy in the outer movements that suggests the neo-Classical Stravinsky, countered by shorter, somewhat quirky layers surrounding a weighty, reflective center. Asia shows notable authority in his slower music, which tends to proceed with firm confidence in the ability of the assembled components to carry the day. The simplicity of expression is deceptive; the composer works with very carefully crafted manipulations of harmony, rhythm, and dynamics. The whole work imparts a satisfying sense of form and substance, as if an interesting story is being related. That quality is strongly enhanced by the suberb playing here, especially the vital and strongly communicative violin-playing of Christopher Macomber.

The Trio, written in 1996 as a memorial commissioned by Philip Vance for his wife, Jeannette Mahoney Vance, also conveys a bigness that belies the intimate instrumentation. Jaunty, motoric outer movements surround a serene, large-scale slow movement, which proceeds deliberately, even dreamily. Asia uses the vowels of Jeannette’s name to form a motif for the cello, based on E, A, E, G?, and G. After the introduction, whole-tone progressions on the piano, accompanied by a rocking pattern on the violin, give the music an Asian sensibility (no pun intended). This morphs into a lush, lyrical passage, which abruptly returns to the sparse music that preceded it, before launching into a sweet coda.

Daniel Asia is a prolific, relatively young composer who has developed a distinctive voice that, at this point in his career, transcends technical considerations and allows him to express himself in a direct and confident manner. This CD is an excellent sampling of that art, and there is a lot more where this comes from. Stay tuned.

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Works on This Recording

Trio for Piano and Strings by Daniel Asia
Performer:  Richard Omrod (Piano), Frantisek Soucek (Violin), Vladimir Fortin (Cello)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1996; USA 
Length: 29 Minutes 30 Secs. 
Sonata for Violin and Piano by Daniel Asia
Performer:  Christopher Oldfather (Piano), Curtis Macomber (Violin)
Written: 2001; USA 
Length: 25 Minutes 47 Secs. 

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