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The Huntingdon Trio

Bohuslav Martinu's  best works show a uniquely fortuitous blend of East European melodic and rhythmic language with a finely-tuned Gallic sense of delicate instrumental color. The carefree spirit of the Trio for flute, cello and piano, composed in 1944, is a remarkable contrast to Martinu's personal circumstances and the general world situation. Its three movements follow patterns particularly common to his chamber works. The first movement follows many aspects of the sonata form, although with the second theme highly changed in the return. The generally quiet slow movement rises to agitation by intensification of the original theme rather than by adding new ideas. By way of contrast, the final movement is a rondo with a wealth of happy ideas, but deftly woven together. Although a casual listener might detect little of the twentieth century in Martinu's harmonic language, it is a curious fact that none of the three movements of this Trio begin and end in the same key. -David Loeb

Burle Marx's Divertimento a Tré for flute, oboe, and cello was commissioned by the Huntingdon Trio, which gave the first performance in 1984 at Drexel University. This music, like all of Marx's works, reflects both his traditional Germanic early training and his Brazilian roots. It incorporates a motif on the notes B-A-C-H (B-flat, A, C, B-natural), which occurs frequently in his works. A distinctly 20th century harmonic palette and an emphasis on chromaticism and counterpoint among the three melodic instruments bring this trio alive and provide its very strong individuality and distinctive style. -Diane Gold

David Loeb: "Four Nocturnes for flute, oboe and cello is one of many works I have composed for the Huntingdon Trio, making full advantage of the varied combinations the three members can present (for example, the Three Hispanic Laments for alto flute, oboe d'amore, and viola da gamba). Although the four-movement slow-fast-slow-fast sequence of the Four Nocturnes might suggest a Baroque sonata or concerto, the work concentrates much more on variety of textures and colors. This is especially evident in the first movement, in which a wide separation of registers at the beginning gives way to ethereal unisons at the end. One might also compare the slow movements to vocal works and the fast movements to dances; assertions justified by form as well as by character." -David Loeb

Ned Rorem: "My Trio was composed in Saratoga Springs, New York in 1959. Flutist Bernard Goldberg commissioned and first performed the work with his Musica Viva Trio in Pittsburgh in 1960. He had proposed that I write something to challenge the virtuosity of himself, cellist Theo Salzman, and pianist Harry Franklin. And so the first movement, based entirely on six notes, is a concerto for flutist upstaging the other two players, while the third movement (conceived on the same six notes) becomes a vocalise for the cellist who finally melts into a canonic reconciliation with his companions. The second and fourth movements are built from similar blocks--a squeezed sequence of four consecutive tones--but based on another esthetic, and featuring the pianist's dazzle. The Largo presents a whispered idiotic conversation between flute and cello; whispered because both play muted and non vibrato even at their loudest, idiotic because each voice says the same thing at the same time and neither listens to the other. The conversation is punctuated at increasingly frequent intervals by piano crashes formed from the previous tonal material. The concluding Allegro equalizes the three players, each of whom unsqueezes the four-tone cluster and sprinkles it throughout his whole range like fireworks which ultimately explode into a unison." -Ned Rorem




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