ROBERT XAVIER RODRIGUEZ (b.1946): Meta 4 for String Quartet (Colorado Quartet), Sor(tri)lège: Trio III for Piano Trio, Trio II for Piano Trio (Clavier Trio), Trio I for Piano Trio (Voices of Change).
Catalogue Number: 10L095
Reference: TROY 1136
Description: Meta 4 was originally commissioned as ballet music for 4 dancers, and the composer responded with a 4-movement piece for 4 players, based on a 4-note motif. The four movements' contrasting character functions on one level as variations, while contrasts within movements provides an additional level of varied detail in clear textures and a tonal idiom, ideally suited to illustration through stage action. The most recent (2007) of the three trios has a punning title suggesting a theme of sorcery, and the piece is richly and evocatively inventive, tonal and warmly, affectionately neo-romantic. A lively sonata-allegro 'incantation' is followed by a cheeky cabaret episode with echoes of Weill and Poulenc. The third movement weaves contrapuntal spells between the three movements, before breaking into an exhilarating toccata. The first two trios are early works in the composer's catalogue; the second was actually written during work on the first, at the suggestion of Nadia Boulanger, with whom Rodriguez was studying at the time. A concise five-minute work in sonata form, based on a note-row, it has much in common with the more expansive Trio I, which is also based on limited material treated in traditional forms. These student pieces are notably less tonal than the more extended mature works, but nonetheless display great technical accomplishment and rigorous musical argument.