Ensemble Epomeo

String Trio

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CD Review: MusicWeb International on Gal/Krasa String Trios

A new, five-star review for the Complete String Trios of Hans Gal and Hans Krasa from MusicWeb International, also available at Art Music Reviews here.

See also our earlier MusicWeb review from Steve Arloff, and Recording of the Month designation here.

“Sound quality is very good. In their debut recording, Ensemble Epomeo (named after an Ischian mountain) are thoroughly convincing from beginning to end. Their sense of ensemble is democratic, their attention to the score attentive and respectful, and their tone warm and welcoming. Expressively they are as much at home with the elegant, small-R romantic classicism of Gál as with the more semantically ambiguous colourings of Krása.”

 


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CD Review- Joshua Kosman/SF Chronicle on Gal/Krasa Complete Trios

A new review of our debut CD from critic Joshua Kosman in the San Francisco Chronicle.

Kosman describes the Gal Serenade as “a witty, sardonic and often beautiful score, which adopts the mannerisms of the Classical style while simultaneously sending them up with love and zest,” and hails Gal’s opus 104 for “Gál’s undeniable mastery of resources.” Most enthusiastic of all, is Kosman’s endorsement of Krasa’s Passacaglia and Fugue, which ends the CD: “Krása’s Passacaglia and Fugue is a brilliant revelation, a savage takedown of artistic ideals in which order and luxuriance devolve into chaos. It’s a compact, unforgettable masterpiece, and the Ensemble Epomeo – which includes Woods along with violinist Caroline Chin and violist David Yang – gives it a superb performance.”

Read the whole thing here

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Ensemble Epomeo: Composer Kile Smith on composer Alfred Schnittke

Ensemble Epomeo has been playing Kile Smith’s beautiful new string trio, Thrice Blest, a lot this year. Kile has managed to come to a couple of our performances, including our concert at the University of Pennsylvania a few days ago. He’s written a fascinating blog post, dealing in large part with his reactions to Schnittke’s extraordinary, wild and challenging String Trio from 1985, played on the same gig. Smith and Schnittke are both marvelous composers who write in their own styles with their own world-views. I’d love to have Schnittke’s take on Smith, but for now, we have to settle for Kile’s on Alfred.  Read it all at Kile’s fantastic blog. Here’s a sample:Kile Smith:“I can’t say that I really liked the Schnittke String Trio, but I worry less and less with the bother of liking something, I find. We overrate liking, an irony since it mostly concerns things over which we have no control.I was, however, entranced. Caroline’s lyricism took on urgency and magnetism. She was drawing the viola and cello and me all to her. David’s tone deepened and was beautiful and sad. Ken was inexhaustible, portraying lightness and a gorgeous strength simultaneously.Entranced? Maybe I was altered. It’s too soon to tell, but I’ll take it over liking.”

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On the skis, at the top of a new run, Part IV

Reblog from Kenneth Woods- A view from the podium

On tour with Ensemble Epomeo– day 5 and 6

Wednesday morning I awoke with a sense of gleeful expectation, in spite of another raft of emails. Why? If you think I was looking forward to the concert, you guessed wrong. Longtime Vftp readers may have twigged that for me, coffee is close to a religion. We’d had a wonderful, wonderful visit to Fredericton, but, from what I could tell, it is not a coffee city. I hadn’t had a decent cup-o-joe, even a Starbucks-ee level one since Sunday. However, I know Halifax, and on Wednesday morning, I knew my first stop was Coburg Coffee, where I used to re-fuel during Scotia Festival in years long past. Heaven. Relief!

On arrival at The Music Room, we decided to carry forth the vibe from the night before- today was to be a day of calm, un-hurried but intensely-focused rehearsal, just cleaning house as if there was no concert to play. The Music Room acoustic is idea for this kind of work- it’s more of a recording studio acoustic than a concert hall one, so you can hear everything with tremendous clarity and precision. It was a tiring day, but cleansing, and after a nice late-afternoon break, we were ready to play.

The concert that night was to be memorable. We started with the Gál Serenade, a piece we’ve now performed many times, but never at the beginning of a concert. It’s as virtuosic and unforgiving as any piece I’ve ever played, so we always thought a warm-up was a good idea, but in this case, it felt good starting the programme with it while we were still fresh and at the top of our concentration.Next up was Schnittke. After the bow-hair massacre the day before, I was trying to be extra cautious, and the destruction this time was nowhere nearly as memorable. Still, after intermission, I decided it was safer to play the Beethoven on a newly-rehaired Hill that came with the cello.

The first movement of the Beethoven was great fun, although the Hill lacks the depth and focus of the Lee, but not long after starting the 2nd movement, I became aware of impending disaster. The dry climate had caused the plug holding the bow hair to shrink and the knot came loose. This meant that in the midst of this serene slow movement, I suddenly had no tension on the bow at all. After struggling as best I could for a while, I finally  stopped in mid-phrase and said “ladies and gentlemen, I’m sorry, this has never happened before, but I’m afraid I have to get another bow.” David and Caroline looked completely stunned!I went up and got my beautiful Jin Wu Lee bow, with its 10 or so remaining hairs, and tip-toed through the rest of the concert. In spite of this, it was great fun, as was our final visit to the Chebucto Room, which in my mind will always be the Rainbow of Halifax (OES members will know what I’m talking about).

With the ferry from Nova Scotia to Maine now out of business, we had no choice but to re-trace our steps on Thursday. At least we had no concerts! And, I could start the day with one last trip to Coburg Coffee. Over 600 miles later, but still speaking to each other, we pulled into Maine to stay with some friends of David. I’m always a bit nervous about home-stays with people I don’t know, but they couldn’t have been nicer. A husband and wife cello/violin couple with a big Suzuki practice, they took us to a fantastic brew pub for a great night out. We’ve me so many brilliant and kind people on this tour.

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PS- you can follow Ensemble Epomeo on our Facebook Page here.

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Kile Smith- Thrice Blest with Ensemble Epomeo

From kilesmith.com. Read the original here.Ensemble Epomeo has performedThrice blest a few times since last Spring, and is bringing it to Philadelphia this Friday, October 1st. They’re playing at the First Friday Concert Series at Christ Church in Old City, on 2nd Street just above Market. The free concert starts at 8 pm.Read about the work here.Ensemble Epomeo is violinistCaroline Chin, violist David Yang, and cellist Kenneth Woods. Click on the names to read about the vast experience each brings to the group. Ken is also an excellent blogger.Here’s a recent post of his about playing on a borrowed cello. I love reading inside-baseball stuff from musicians. Things I’d never consider play such a big part in the lives of those who make the music for us.Caroline, David, and Ken play with many different people and ensembles, and they each run groups of their own. They are busy as can be, so I’m delighted that they’ve taken on this little work. I’m writing a companion to it, but it’ll have to wait until after Friday.In David’s kitchen a week ago I heard part of a recording of Thrice blestfrom a recent performance, and David was telling me how much the piece has come together and how much they’re enjoying it. I think I nodded but I really wasn’t listening; the lentils and sausage he was cooking grabbed all my attention. Sure enough, “cooking” is in his bio, but you can take my word for it: he’s the real deal.Hans Gál, SerenadeKile Smith, Thrice blestRichard Strauss, Variations on “’s Deandl is harb auf mi”Ludwig van Beethoven, Trio in D Major, Op. 9, No. 2