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LONGLEASH @ The National Opera Center

“[Longleash] navigated an incredible breadth of musical styles with technical expertise and expressive innovation. Keep an eye out for future perfomances...” - Zoe Gorman, Feast of Music Last Thursday, LONGLEASH gave its New York debut performance with Trio Formations, a program investigating the piano trio's evolving structure and roles of instrumentation. With works by Beat Furrer, Reiko Füting,  Younghi Pagh-Paan, and Chris Swithinbank, we presented diverse approaches to the inherent challenges of piano trio writing - timbral imbalances, lack of symmetry, and issues of acoustical balance. Putting these approaches into a historical context, we also included two traditional works that use representative structures from the Classical and Romantic eras respectively. Haydn's Trio in E Major uses the strings to augment the piano's left and right hands, while Schubert's Trio in E-flat pairs the strings together in a single voice with the piano presenting evolving accompaniments. We were especially excited to present both the US premiere of Younghi Pagh-Paan's Silberseiten I, and a world premiere of Chris Swithinbank's IcebloomSilberseiten I was inspired by the poem "Jugendgedenken" by Gottfried Keller. Pagh-Paan focuses on Keller's image of an echoing silver string as metaphor for an encounter that lingers in one's memory. She approaches the instrumentation with this image in mind, using combinations of the instruments to enhance the timbre and energy of single sounds. Icebloom for piano trio + music box draws its inspiration from Schubert's Frühlingstraum from Winterreise, specifically Willhelm Müller's themes of memory, absence, and imagination. The work's extended techniques (white noise and prepared piano) equalize the instruments' timbral differences, allowing the sounds to "outilne the ghost's of Schubert's piano", while the music box plays fleeting passages from the Frühlingstraum melody. We were fortunate enough to have received a wonderful review for the concert.