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Groovebox / Ahn-Trio


Release Date: 10/22/2002 
Label:  Emi Classics   Catalog #: 57357   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Jim MorrisonMichael NymanMaurice JarreAstor Piazzolla,   ... 
Performer:  Lucia AhnAngella AhnMaria Ahn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ahn Trio
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 14 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Korean-born sisters Lucia, Angella, and Maria Ahn seem poised to be the Kronos Quartet of the piano trio, albeit with more populist leanings. The repertoire on this CD is modish—did we really need yet another “classical” arrangement of a Doors song?—and the young women are scantily clad both on and inside the booklet. (They’d probably be sent home to change by my local high school.) This is a little sad, as their playing is mature and lovely, and they look like nice young women—too nice to be puppeted around by someone’s publicity department, if this in fact is what has happened.

Kenji Bunch’s Swing Shift is the longest work on this CD. Bunch, a Juilliard graduate in composition and viola, wrote Swing Shift “to capture the
Read more unique essence of [New York City] at her most exciting time of day—the hours between dusk and dawn.” By his own admission, Bunch is not a “night owl,” and this work lacks the paranoia and manic-depressive loneliness one might expect in a true creature of the night. While Swing Shift is edgy, it has the edginess of youth, in which optimism usually rings the loudest chime. The allusions to popular culture are not obnoxious or gratuitous, but seem integrated into the piece as a whole.

Derived from his score to the Peter Greenaway film, Prospero’s Books (not The Piano, as I read in another publication!), Michael Nyman’s typically minimalist Yellow Sands gives the Ahn Trio a chance to show off their meltingly melodic playing, as well as their liking for Nyman’s chugging and unpredictably displaced rhythms. Maurice Jarre is another film composer, of course, but his Engadiner Suite (named for Switzerland’s Engadine Valley) is an original work. It is a nature piece, if you will—one that sounds surprisingly like a less extreme take on Messiaen’s Quatuor pour le fin du temps, if you can believe it, particularly in the first movement. Who knew that the composer of Dr. Zhivago had Messiaenic leanings?

Astor Piazzolla’s brief, nostalgic Milonga del angel adapts perfectly well to the piano trio medium, and the closing Lullabye by Israeli composer Ronn Yedidia—another Juilliard grad—ends the CD on a similarly elegiac note. Not meant to lull a baby to sleep, Yedidia intended this work to be “a farewell to (the) precious souls” of his grandmother and of an Israeli song composer he admired. Originally written for cello and piano, the arrangement for piano trio is the composer’s own.

In Groovebox, pianist Lucia, violinist Angella, and cellist Maria Ahn surpassed my expectations. What could have been another throwaway CD, another trouncing of substance by style, turns out to be rather fetching in its own modest way. One feels that the sisters really believe in the music and are bringing the utmost dedication to it. Perhaps someday they won’t have to dress like navel-baring rock stars to get the general public to pay attention.

Nice engineering. The venue was the Baumgartner Casino in Vienna. (Go figure.)

-- Raymond Tuttle, FANFARE [5/2003]
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Works on This Recording

1. Riders on the Storm by Jim Morrison
Performer:  Lucia Ahn (Piano), Angella Ahn (Violin), Maria Ahn (Cello)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ahn Trio
Period: 20th Century 
Written: by 1971; USA 
Date of Recording: 07/2002 
Venue:  Baumgartner Casino, Vienna, Austria 
Length: 5 Minutes 34 Secs. 
Notes: Arranged: Michal Rataj
This selection was written in collaboration with Ray Manzarek, John Densmore, and Robby Krieger. 
2. Yellow Beach by Michael Nyman
Performer:  Angella Ahn (Violin), Lucia Ahn (Piano), Maria Ahn (Cello)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ahn Trio
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1990; England 
Date of Recording: 07/2002 
Venue:  Baumgartner Casino, Vienna, Austria 
Length: 6 Minutes 53 Secs. 
3. Engadiner Suite by Maurice Jarre
Performer:  Angella Ahn (Violin), Lucia Ahn (Piano), Maria Ahn (Cello)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ahn Trio
Period: 20th Century 
Date of Recording: 07/2002 
Venue:  Baumgartner Casino, Vienna, Austria 
Length: 24 Minutes 42 Secs. 
4. Milonga del Angel by Astor Piazzolla
Performer:  Lucia Ahn (Piano), Angella Ahn (Violin), Maria Ahn (Cello)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ahn Trio
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1965; Argentina 
Date of Recording: 07/2002 
Venue:  Baumgartner Casino, Vienna, Austria 
Length: 4 Minutes 22 Secs. 
Notes: Arranged: Michal Rataj 
5. Swing Shift by Kenji Bunch
Performer:  Lucia Ahn (Piano), Maria Ahn (Cello), Angella Ahn (Violin)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ahn Trio
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 2002; USA 
Date of Recording: 07/2002 
Venue:  Baumgartner Casino, Vienna, Austria 
Length: 27 Minutes 43 Secs. 
6. Lullaby by Ronn Yedidia
Performer:  Angella Ahn (Violin), Lucia Ahn (Piano), Maria Ahn (Cello)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ahn Trio
Period: 20th Century 
Date of Recording: 07/2002 
Venue:  Baumgartner Casino, Vienna, Austria 
Length: 4 Minutes 34 Secs. 
Notes: Arranged: Ronn Yedidia 

Sound Samples

Riders on the Storm
Yellow Beach
The Engadiner Suite: Summer
The Engadiner Suite: Autumn
The Engadiner Suite: Winter
The Engadiner Suite: Spring
Milonga del Angel
Swing Shift: Prelude
Swing Shift: Night Flight
Swing Shift: Interhour
Swing Shift: Club Crawl
Swing Shift: Magic Hour
Swing Shift: Grooveboxes
Lullabye

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  1 Customer Review )
 The glitz is only on the cover February 14, 2013 By James Carleton (Camarillo, CA) See All My Reviews "I'll be honest; had it not been for the positive review by Raymond Tuttle, quoted above, and the discount price, I would not have bought this CD. At 60 years of age, I can still appreciate youthful beauty, but I am not likely to buy something purely because of prurient interest. Fortunately, the sound samples convinced me that these young ladies do know how to play their instruments, and that the music is what is really important to them. Having the full CD in my possession solidifies my belief. My only surprise is that I had not heard of the Ahn Trio until last month. They were apparently known enough to be mentioned in a Time Magazine cover story back in 1987. Where have I been over the past quarter-century that I have managed to miss them until now? Well, better late than never, I suppose. These three ladies are solid musicians, and I have to assume that they have only gotten better over time. As for this album, while none of it (with the possible exception of the opening track) is likely to be familiar, it all fits together nicely. The arrangements are done with attention to the strengths and weaknesses of each instrument, and the original works are all interesting and enjoyable. None of this is "toss-off" material: it all speaks as well as a Beethoven piano sonata or a Mozart symphony. The CD is very generous (nearly 75 minutes), and the engineering is excellent. If I have a complaint, it's that there is nothing on here that strongly contrasts with anything else. The one thing that Kronos Quartet has managed to do in most of their compilation albums is find some strong contrasts between the different selections. This CD is generally mellow throughout, which is not 'bad'; it just would have been nice to hear them in one piece that had a little angst or stress. Something by Ives, or an arrangement of an early Prokofiev piano piece, would have really hit the spot." Report Abuse
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