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American Classics - Schifrin, Schuller, Shapiro: Piano Trios


Release Date: 01/16/2001 
Label:  Naxos   Catalog #: 8559062   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Lalo SchifrinGunther SchullerGerald Shapiro
Performer:  John EakenNancy BaunGloria Whitney
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Eaken Piano Trio
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 7 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Lalo Schifrin, Gunther Schuller, & Gerald Shapiro: Apart from the phonic compatibility of these composers' last names and the fact that they are notable contemporaries, their piano trios featured here (written within a decade of each other) also happen to work very well together as a musical set. Schifrin's Hommage à Ravel (he is, by the way, the composer of the Mission: Impossible theme!) is angular and barky, sounding more like Los Angeles-style Bartók than Ravel, and it bounces well against Schuller's smoky, post-bop atonal piece. Gerald Shapiro rounds out the disc with an unabashedly beautiful and melodic work that also has its playful moments (as in his Scherzando à la Russe movement). If some of Schuller's Read more "cool" jazz infusions--such as a walking bass line played by the cello or taps on the bodies of the instruments to simulate drums--seem dated or vulgar, they were new and fresh when composed, even in 1984, and this was part of a style (called "Third Stream") that Schuller was instrumental in devising.


The Eaken piano trio gives rollicking readings of each piece, displaying its collective virtuosity and seemingly endless color palette. Schifrin's "Tango" is appropriately brash, Schuller's "With Swing" does, in fact, swing, and Shapiro's subtle and beautiful harmonies are not cheezed up but are played with finesse and focus. This group has given each of these pieces serious thought, offering intelligent performances all around. Intimately recorded for all possible nuance, this disc is a worthwhile investigation of some obscure, interesting repertoire, especially attractive at the Naxos price. Next up: trios by Schoenberg, Schreker, and William Schuman? Maybe Harold Shapero? Elliot Schwartz? The possibilities are endless.
--Daniel Felsenfeld, ClassicsToday.com Read less

Works on This Recording

1. Hommage à Ravel by Lalo Schifrin
Performer:  John Eaken (Violin), Nancy Baun (Cello), Gloria Whitney (Piano)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Eaken Piano Trio
Period: 20th Century 
2. Trio for Piano and Strings by Gunther Schuller
Performer:  Gloria Whitney (Piano), Nancy Baun (Cello), John Eaken (Violin)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Eaken Piano Trio
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1984; USA 
3. Trio for Piano and Strings by Gerald Shapiro
Performer:  Nancy Baun (Cello), Gloria Whitney (Piano), John Eaken (Violin)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Eaken Piano Trio
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1993; USA 

Sound Samples

Hommage a Ravel: Introduction
Hommage a Ravel: Tango
Hommage a Ravel: Elegie
Hommage a Ravel: Finale
Piano Trio: Movement One
Piano Trio: Adagio
Piano Trio: With Swing
Piano Trio: Andante serioso
Piano Trio: Scherzando a la Russe
Piano Trio: Adagio rubato e molto espressivo
Piano Trio: Allegro marcato

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