Adrift - Delphine Trio
Classical - Chamber
Works by Leighton, Kahn, Psathas, Piazzolla, Delanoff
The Delphine Trio brings together three passionate young musicians from opposite ends of the globe: Australian clarinettist Magdalenna Krstevska, Dutch cellist Jobine Siekman and pianist Roelof Temmingh, hailing from South Africa.
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Review by Adrian Quanjer - February 6, 2024
TRPTK continues to cater for the discerning music lover. This new release is another example. One disk unites musicians from three continents with a programme that covers even five (or six, depending on the definition). ‘Adrift’ is the aptly chosen name: “Bodies of water, shifting boundaries, crossing borders, wandering styles…”. Gourmet stuff for the connoisseurs? I believe it is! Like so many releases coming from this enterprising Dutch label, most of its repertoire is far removed from ‘the millions’. With TRPTK practically all new releases open up new horizons. A niche within a niche. My shelves, and probably yours as well, sag under the weight of Mozart, Beethoven and Mahler etc. But always room for something new.
The Delphine Trio -the origin of the name is not clear and not given on their website- is made up of an Australian clarinetist, Magdalenna Krstevska, a Dutch cellist, Jobine Siekman, and a South-African-born pianist, Roelof Temmingh. I must admit that I did not know any of the musicians and that most of the compositions they play are new to me as well. The saying ‘unknown makes unloved’ is not applicable as many if not most of us are eager to discover new avenues in music, spreading our wings beyond the trodden path. And what’s more, we can be sure that the recorded quality is beyond any reproach. A condition sine qua non for excellence.
The programme starts with Kenneth Leighton’s “Powerful Fantasy on an American Hymn Tune … taking us on an emotionally profound journey, ..” Surprisingly, the tune is sung by the members of the Trio before the music starts. It sounds like your brother and sisters singing, making it all the more authentic. What follows is modern and not immediately easy on the ear. Yet, it carries you away into lament and turmoil, as the liner notes aptly indicate. The listener is rewarded at the end with the music drifting into heaven. Exceptionally well playing by all three.
I must in particular commend the cellist playing so well in tune throughout the programme. It is a common mistake to believe that with modern music one does not hear when stringed instrument players make approximative noises. The first time I heard one of Bartok’s String Quartets played by l..sy musicians playing consistently out of tune as though it didn’t matter, I was completely put off. In those long bygone days, it was no exception, doing a lot of harm to contemporary music. Times have changed for the better.
Robert Kahn’s Trio Serenade is the next stop, allowing the listener to drift away and ‘gather along the river’. Melancholia at its best with weeping clarinet tones interacting with playful elements carefully underpinned by the piano and warm cello sound. It prepares the listener for the following Island visit as seen through the musical eyes of John (Ioannis) Psathas, a New Zealand-born and grown Greek composer, also active in the parallel digital and jazz circuits. His Three Island Songs are based on Greek dances and although the composer has classified the difficulty for the musicians as ‘advanced’, the Delphine Trio do not give the impression it is with flawless playing. But what it does to the listener, at least to me, is absorbing increasingly your attention. Hooked, one might say. The pizzicato by cellist Jobine Siekman in the second song is a marvel on which the clarinet can dance in a more and more fervent way until it fades away. Mind-blowing!
Piazzolla’s Oblivion, a tune that drifted from Argentina to all over the world, needs no further comment other than that it is played here in an arrangement by Roelof Temmingh, doing full justice to its bitter-sweet melody. Positioned in the middle of the programme, it will give the listener a moment of rest and contemplation. The Delphine Trio, who have met for the first time at the Royal College of Music in London, UK, invade your spirit and soul with their velvety playing, until ….
…. Robert Delanoff takes it away into a world of unusual combinations of styles in what is simply called: Trio. It is modern-melodious and attractive. Three parts of drifting music from Hindemith to Debussy via syncopated Jazz and humorous circus tunes (part III). Part II, Nocturne, is a wonderful piece of peace. A real find.
The short Introduction & Allegro by the Hungarian drifter, Mátyás Seiber, fleeing from his native soil to the safe Island of the Brits, puts the listener on solid though high-spirited musical ground, concluding a varied concert by a Trio ‘out of the ordinary’ that I have discovered with enormous pleasure and admiration. It is reassuring that in a world filled with internet noise, social site distractions and what-not-else young talent keeps coming for the benefit of us, the discerning niche. Bravo!
Blangy-le-Château, Normandy, France.
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