HEINZER Piano Trios 1-3. Mosaic No. 2. Mellerup • Lea Gabriela Heinzer (vn); Doris Maria Sigrist (vc); Susy Luthy (pn) • SWISS PAN 51 708 (67: 40)
In 1935, Josef Peter Heinzer was born to a cabinetmaker and his wife in Stein am Rhein, Switzerland. Growing up, the young man studied cabinet making and later chemistry at the world famous ETHZ Technical University in Zurich. He also played the zither at home with his father and began to teach himself piano, eventually attending theRead more Zurich Music Academy. From then on he was hooked on music. He started writing some pieces that would allow his brothers to play with him. By the mid 1960s he had written a violin sonata and a piano trio.
Heinzer likes to travel and spend time by the sea in various parts of the world. He even does some scuba diving. Much of the music on this recording describes various beaches and the seas that border them. Heinzer’s First Piano Trio was written in 1986 after the composer spent two weeks in the Azores. He begins by describing the crater lagoon (Lagoa da Fogo) at Agua de Pau with its odor of sulphur and follows it with the rhythms of the scurrying rabbits that live on the slopes of the mountain. Everything on that island is living above the boiling cauldron of a live volcano and the music has a restlessness that reminds us that we could be assaulted by lava at any minute. The sea on one side of the island was full of Medusa jellyfish, which he found to be mysterious. Heinzer made drawings of the scenery, animals, fish, and birds, which he includes as part of the booklet that accompanies the disc. Not only can he draw them well on paper, he catches their essence and the wildness of their spirits in his music. In the middle of the piece, there is a short but melodically intriguing duet for violin and cello with no piano to spoil the butter-smooth tones of the work. That is just one of the many gems of Heinzer’s composition.
In Heinzer’s Second Mosaic for Cello and Piano, written in1985, a swimmer watches eels digging in the sands near the shore. Heinzer’s ingenious music describes various kinds of fish, including sand sharks, which glide by and delight the observer who has no fear of them. His Second Piano Trio was inspired by a trip to Guadeloupe, part of the French Antilles. Again we are atop a volcano but this one is dormant and serene. Suzy Lüthy’s elegant rendition of the piano solo called Les Coraux (the corals) is particularly affecting. You can hear the sunlight filtering through a calm sea to highlight the various colors of coral below. For the 1998 cello and piano duet called Mellerup, the composer visited a northern Danish village located on a fjord. The setting is totally different and much of the music is somber. The Andante from Mellerup II is stately and at times elegiac with a melodic base that could offer great comfort in times of tribulation. The final work on the disc, Heinzer’s Third Piano Trio, was written in 1994 when he returned to the West Indies and dived in the seas off the island of La Désirade. That trip inspired the trio’s lively music for violin and piano, which is followed by Lüthy’s lighthearted piano solo and a final impressive Allegro, The Shark (Le Requin). All of these works were recorded in 2001 in Schaffhausen and the sound has the pleasant ambience of an intimate concert hall. I really enjoyed traveling with Heinzer and I think you will too.