BERNSTEIN: Trio; KORNGOLD: Trio no. 1; FOOTE: Trio no. 2 – Neave Trio – Chandos

Three early works by soon to be famous composers

American Moments = Music by FOOTE/KORNGOLD/BERNSTEIN – Neave Trio – Chandos CD  10924 TT: 68:31 (11/18/16) *** 1/2

Chandos has given us a nice collection of music by the Neave Trio (Anna Williams, violin; Mikhail Veselov, cello; and Eri Nakamura, piano).

The disk is called ‘American Moments, and I’m having a small struggle figuring out the title. Both Bernstein and Foote were American born, but Korngold was born in Vienna, and didn’t move to the U.S. until 1934, where he continued writing classical music but also wrote for films, including Captain Blood, The Adventures of Robin Hood and The Sea Hawk. Certainly, all the composers wrote music celebrated here in the U.S, but I still find the title of the disk a little ‘off’. .

The music is quite good, and provides works listeners may never have heard, particularly from Bernstein and Foote. Even the Korngold is not something that is often performed.

The Korngold Trio no. 1 was written in 1910, when the composer was 23. It’s an energetic work, but doesn’t offer much of a prediction of where the composer was going with his later Hollywood spectacles.

The Bernstein Trio, written in 1937 when the composer was a teenager, is an interesting work. If I strain I can hear flashes of the later Bernstein, and it’s an interesting window into his musical thought when he was young,

The last piece is by Arthur Foote, written in 1937. His Trio no. 2.  Foote began his career as the organist at the First Unitarian Church in Boston in 1878. He held that position for 32 years. Much of Foote’s compositional output was chamber music, and the Trio no. 2 is a fine example of his work.

The Neave Trio does a fine job with this music. The playing is precise and the trio is clearly committed to this program. The Trio has appeared in Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall, the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center/La Jolla Music Society, Fontana Chamber Arts, the American Dvořák Society, Laguna Beach Live!, Rockport Chamber Music Festival, Syracuse Friends of Chamber Music, the Los Angeles Music Guild, the La Jolla Athenaeum, and regularly as soloists with orchestras across the country, performing Beethoven’s Triple Concerto. Of late, the trio is specializing in music of contemporary composers.

The recording is up to the usual Chandos standards. The instruments are nicely placed in the stereo image, and the piano and strings sound natural.

I enjoyed my time listening to this disk, and all of the music was refreshingly new to me.

—Mel Martin

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