The Delphi Trio offers a program of masterworks old and new from great American composers. Henry Cowell is truly a pioneer in twentieth-century American Music, and his Trio in Nine Short Movements (1965) offers kaleidoscopic tableaux ranging from cheerful to bizarre, extraterrestrial to old world sacred.
Amy Beach, prolific as she was gifted as a composer-pianist, contributed many beautiful works to chamber music through her long career. In 1938, she wrote what would be her only piano trio, Op. 150. If her musical voice has its roots firmly in the nineteenth century, the directness and increasingly dissonant counterpoint betray its composition in the years leading to World War II. Cast in three relatively brief movements, the drama of the trio orbits around the slow movement. The first movement and finale frame the work with an air of charm and vivacity.
Pierre Jalbert’s masterful Trio (1998) brings together eclectic musical styles into a unified concentration of dramatic force. Beginning with Life Cycle, the piece explodes out of the gate with its driving asymmetrical rhythms and piquant harmonies. Expressive markings include “Raw, aggressive” and “Funky, accented” throughout this dynamic opening movement. The second and final movement entitled Agnus Dei is dedicated to the memory of Mother Theresa and provides tremendous contrast of mood and style. Beginning with an incantation in the strings, the music builds toward a frightening dramatic climax before fading away into mists of C major.
Max Stoffregen’s Coyote Plan was written in 2012, commissioned and premiered by the Delphi Trio. Stoffregen brings together popular dance music through the lens of the analogue synthesizer and its sound world, creating an atmosphere of subtle electricity and poignance. Also commissioned by the Delphi Trio is William Bolcom’s first substantial piano trio, to be premiered by the Delphi in 2016. In the words of the composer, “My new piano trio intends to follow the great line of piano trios from the last centuries in form and mood, although the musical material is very much of our own time.” Boldly romantic, poignant, and sharply etched, this trio will take its place among the great chamber music of the 21st century.
Works to be performed on the “Made in America” program include:
Henry Cowell, Trio in Nine Short Movements
Amy Beach, Piano Trio, Op. 150
Pierre Jalbert, Trio
Max Stoffregen, Coyote Plan*
William Bolcom, Piano Trio*
*Commissioned by the Delphi Trio