ELLEN TAAFFE ZWILICH (b.1939): Quintet for String Trio, Double Bass and Piano, Piano Trio, Septet for Piano Trio and String Quartet.
Catalogue Number: 05P082
Description: Three extremely fine works, sharing Zwilich's dynamic, rhythmically incisive, restlessly imaginative, richly eloquent and very tonal neo-romantic idiom, with the spontaneity of jazz written into the score. The quintet is a deliciously vivacious piece, with a first movement reminiscent of Shostakovich, the second a Gershwinesque blues. The trio is concise and concentrated, with an intensely serious slow movement full of ominous chiming and tolling bells, framed by vigorous, driven outer movements. The unusually scored septet achieves an almost orchestral variety of textures in four varied movements that form a quasi-symphonic cogency of argument. After an introductory movement, the Quasi Passacaglia slow movement has a solemn, inexorable forward thrust, which the jazz-inflected scherzo carries forward with jittery energy, before a hauntingly reminiscence-filled finale ends the work in regret, resignation, ultimately fading into a sad, gentle twilight. Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson Trio, Michael Tree (viola), Harold Robinson (double bass), Miami String Quartet.