An American Tour
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||Four Music Videos: I. Rock Song||Weiss-Kaplan-Newman Trio||9:50||$0.99||View In iTunes|
||Four Music Videos: II. Bossa Nova||Weiss-Kaplan-Newman Trio||3:17||$0.99||View In iTunes|
||Four Music Videos: III. Film Score||Weiss-Kaplan-Newman Trio||6:58||$0.99||View In iTunes|
||Four Music Videos: IV. Samba||Weiss-Kaplan-Newman Trio||6:35||$0.99||View In iTunes|
||Juxt-Opposition||Weiss-Kaplan-Newman Trio||12:29||Album Only||View In iTunes|
||Tunes From My Home: I. Introduction||Weiss-Kaplan-Newman Trio||3:33||$0.99||View In iTunes|
||Tunes From My Home: II. Nostalgia||Weiss-Kaplan-Newman Trio||7:36||$0.99||View In iTunes|
||Tunes From My Home: III. Happiness||Weiss-Kaplan-Newman Trio||4:47||$0.99||View In iTunes|
||Triptych - The Mirror with Three Faces: I. Prelude (Left Exterior Panel)||Weiss-Kaplan-Newman Trio||5:00||$0.99||View In iTunes|
||Triptych - The Mirror with Three Faces: II. First Unfolding (Left Interior Panel)||Weiss-Kaplan-Newman Trio||1:01||$0.99||View In iTunes|
||Triptych - The Mirror with Three Faces: III. Second Unfolding (Right Interior Panel)||Weiss-Kaplan-Newman Trio||3:31||$0.99||View In iTunes|
||Triptych - The Mirror with Three Faces: IV. Tell'em What You See (Three Faces - Central Panel)||Weiss-Kaplan-Newman Trio||7:34||$0.99||View In iTunes|
||Triptych - The Mirror with Three Faces: V. Folding - Postlude (Right Exterior Panel)||Weiss-Kaplan-Newman Trio||6:05||$0.99||View In iTunes|
A Successful American Tour
"An American Tour" presents a quick survey of American piano trio music in the 21st century. It's an ambitous program, but the Weiss-Kaplan-Newman Trio (WKNT) is more than equal to the task. The ensemble worked closely with two of the four composers featured, and counts one as a member. These personal relations let the ensemble go deep into the works to get at the essence of what the composers were trying to express.
Lera Auerbach's Triptych almost sounds like a musical collage. Eastern European cafe music mixes with extended instrumental technique, pointalistic melodies, and slightly off-kilter tonal passages. Yet, in the capable performances of the WKNT, it all blends together into a coherent - and highly expressive -- whole.
Chen Yi is another composer the WKNT has worked with. Her "Tunes From My Home," is a fascinating blend of Oriental and Occidental musical traditions. Yes, the source matieral is Cantonese, but it's been completely reworked. The pentatonic melodic outline is there, and occasionally the violin and cello mimic the plucked sound of Chinese string instruments. The working out of the material proceeds in a manner more familiar to Western audiences.
Clancy Newman is the group's cellist -- and also a talented composer. According to the liner nots, his piece Juxt-Opposition is based on a methodical working-out of an eight note motif. And it one that works. Like all good music, it lives on the merits of its own sound, and requires no extra-musical information to help the listener make sense of it. The work just naturally seems to unfold from its sparse opening, branching out in many directions in the process.
Paul Schoenfield's "Cafe Music" is probably the most famous piano trio written in the last few years (or at least the most popular). "Four Music Videos," given time, may run a close second. It sprang from a request to write something for MTV -- but the results are much better than that. The four movements, "Rock Song," "Bossa Nova" "Film Score" and "Samba" all deliver on the promises of their titles. But Schoenfeld uses these genres as a starting point, not the destination. The music is sassy, high-energy, and perhaps more jazzy than rock -- but great fun to listen to from start to finish.