About this Recording
8.573533 - Chamber Music - CURRENT, B. / STANILAND, A. / OESTERLE, M. / WRIGHT, J.K. (Elements Eternal) (Nesrallah, Gryphon Trio)
English  French 

Elements Eternal


The Gryphon Trio has commissioned and premiered over 75 works since 1993. Elements Eternal follows the Trio’s Juno award-winning compilation of commissioned trios entitled Canadian Premieres.

These Begin to Catch Fire (2012)

The opening of These Begin to Catch Fire was inspired by watching people enter patterns of brilliant summer sunlight on the shores of beautiful lake Muskoka near Toronto. Blinding textures were reflecting off the water in a million different ways and you could see only the outlines of the people within. I hoped to capture some of the serenity of the scene as well as a sense of the light on the water. Musically, the strings hold notes for long periods of time while the piano stays relentlessly active. More patterns are then developed in a series of episodes, sometimes with the instruments overlapping with one another in rounds.

The title comes from a note-to-self. Before writing any notation I’ll typically spend many days at the piano, taping drawings and descriptions around the room. One of these contained a description that said “these start to catch fire” meaning that the gestures gradually become more active, faster and brighter. This seemed appropriate as a title as it speaks of the play with energy and brightness that I hope to convey in the music.

Brian Current

Brian Current’s music has been awarded numerous international prizes and has been performed by dozens of professional orchestras, ensembles and opera companies world-wide.

Solstice Songs (2011)

The seasons, or more specifically, the passage of the solstices and equinoxes, form universal points of orientation that define the passage of time, and speak to our unique place in the celestial community. They are marked, celebrated and reflected on through the ages and across cultures in remarkable ways, including architecture, poetry and music. Interestingly the dictionary definition of song, despite immediately conjuring up ‘words set to music’, is quite inclusive, embracing poetry, the wordless songs of animals such as whales, and wordless musical composition. There are no words in Solstice Songs; however, the writing is song-like in that it is lyrical and cantabile in style. It is the poetry of sound. Solstice Songs unfolds in three defined sections: I Adagio espressivo, II: Interlude, and III: Lively, dance-like. The first movement is lyrical in nature, with aural depictions of ancient monuments aligned to solar events. The second is a dark and atmospheric interlude, exploring distant thunder and unseen mechanics. The third features oscillation between sections of layered nocturnal melody and a driving perpetuum mobile.

Andrew Staniland

Andrew Staniland is one of Canada’s leading contemporary classical music composers whose work blends the traditional craft of musical composition with the new and innovative digital media of the 21st century.

Centennials (2012)

This piano trio is a birthday tribute to three captivating personalities who would have celebrated their 100th birthday in 2012. I watched Julia Child on TV and admired the gracious manner and sense of mischief that made her incongruous voice and figure even more endearing. She raised the culinary bar for the average American, making cooking an adventure anyone could attempt. Conlon Nancarrow was as dedicated to his political beliefs as he was to his musical convictions, and functioned tirelessly in a self-imposed exile, seemingly sure that at some point humanity would recognize the value of his artistic expression. For me, nothing has been quite the same since hearing Nancarrow’s music for the first time.

Jackson Pollock is both a romantic and a tragic figure. I felt that a personal tribute in music to this quintessential modern artist could focus on the extremes of his life, his reclusiveness and his volatility. The music pivots between these opposing characteristics and, like Pollock’s own life, the final movement of my trio ends rather abruptly.

Michael Oesterle

Michael Oesterle is a Canadian composer who lives in Deux-Montagnes, Québec.

Briefe an die unsterbliche Geliebte (Letters to the Immortal Beloved) (2013)

Briefe an die unsterbliche Geliebte is a chamber art song cycle inspired by three passionate love letters written by Beethoven on the 6 and 7 July, 1812, to a woman he addresses only as his “Immortal Beloved”. Following the composer’s death in 1827, the letters were discovered in the composer’s bedside table, having been either unsent or returned. The identity of the intended recipient has been shrouded in mystery ever since. Although more than a dozen “Immortal Beloved” candidates have been proposed, musicological consensus has recently converged around a single woman in Beethoven’s life, the Countess Josephine von Brunswick, a beautiful young Hungarian aristocrat whom the composer had first met in 1799, shortly before her marriage to the Count von Deym. After the Count died in 1804, the Countess’s relationship with Beethoven intensified during the next several years. Sadly, her hovering mother prevented their marriage, since the composer’s social status was deemed unsuitable. The opening theme from Beethoven’s Andante grazioso in F Major (WoO 57) is quoted in the third movement of the cycle. Beethoven had secretly dedicated his Andante favori to Josephine von Brunswick in the spring of 1805, shortly after the death of her husband.

James K. Wright
James K. Wright is a professor of music theory, composition and performance-studies at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada.

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