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In The Midst Of Things

In The Midst Of Things

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Maltese composer Karl Fiorini is a European without frontiers – the compositions in this album reflect his early detachment from a Mediterranean identity towards a more varied and intense sound world. Trio Lamina features elements of Bartók’s ‘night music’ in its complex sub-sections, whereas Fiorini’s two piano studies, which predate his move to Paris, already exude a Gallic ambience. Influenced by North African folk music, the Piano Trio expands his global reach, and the Piano Sonata, a gritty virtuoso concert piece, shifts geographical influence towards Eastern Europe to powerful effect. All of these world première recordings were recorded in the presence of the composer.

REVIEWS:

This program is a shining example of a 21st-century composer who has stepped back from the extremist styles of the mid-late 20th century to re-embrace communication with an audience, but has taken elements from those styles into his own armory.

Karl Fiorini (b. 1979) references Minimalism alongside Lisztian bravura in the first of his Piano Études (2007–08), Middle Eastern syncopation in his 2017 Piano Sonata, and Neoclassical momentum plus Webernian fragmentation in the Trio Lamina (2002).

He draws on the characteristics of recent schools without adhering to their strict rules or specific aims. He knows his instruments, and his chamber music on this showing is bracingly virtuosic. Like other contemporary composers such as Francisco Coll, he has created a strong voice by synthesizing disparate elements so they emerge as subtle flavors, to use a cooking metaphor. (Much 21st-century music resembles modern fusion cuisine.)

The latest work on this program is a quartet, In the Midst of Things (2019), utilizing the same instrumental combination as Messiaen’s Quartet for the End of Time. I think Fiorini deliberately echoes that seminal work in the first movement, which begins with a languorous cello melody accompanied by full, stately chords from the piano, but he soon turns away from it. By the time we reach the closing Presto movement we are in a bustling world of earthy joie de vivre of a type Messiaen never attempted. Again, Eastern rhythms feature.

I greatly enjoyed these examples of Fiorini’s work. He may be an instinctive composer as he claims, but his instinct is clearly based in a solid grounding of acquired knowledge and continual exploration. The sound and performances are excellent. For those interested in new music, this disc is an exciting and not overly demanding example.

-- Fanfare

The early Trio Lamina (2002) for violin, clarinet, and piano sports an arch form and a spooky atmosphere reminiscent of Bartok. The Two Piano Etudes (2008) have a Gallic neo-Impressionism; and the Piano Trio (2005) has echoes of North African folk music in the use of hexachords and modes in retrograde and inversion. The Piano Sonata (2017) is a dense and demanding concert piece inspired by the music of Eastern Europe.

In the Midst of Things (2019) is a four-movement work for clarinet and piano trio that takes a Beethoven-like approach to structure, balancing intricate theory with carefully timed emotion. The performers bring out the best in the scores, rendering them all with marvelous skill, vigor, transparency, and commitment[.]

-- American Record Guide

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Product Description:


  • Release Date: November 12, 2021


  • UPC: 747313988020


  • Catalog Number: GP880


  • Label: Grand Piano


  • Number of Discs: 1


  • Period: Contemporary


  • Composer: Karl Fiorini


  • Performer: Charlene Farrugia, Dimitri Ashkenazy, Rebecca Raimondi, Stefan Kropfitsch



Works:


  1. Trio Lamina

    Composer: Karl Fiorini

    Performer: Dimitri Ashkenazy (Clarinet), Rebecca Raimondi (Violin), Charlene Farrugia (Piano)


  2. Les âmes effleurées

    Composer: Karl Fiorini

    Performer: Charlene Farrugia (Piano)


  3. Reflets flous

    Composer: Karl Fiorini

    Performer: Charlene Farrugia (Piano)


  4. Piano Trio

    Composer: Karl Fiorini

    Performer: Rebecca Raimondi (Violin), Stefan Kropfitsch (Cello), Charlene Farrugia (Piano)


  5. Piano Sonata

    Composer: Karl Fiorini

    Performer: Charlene Farrugia (Piano)


  6. In the Midst of Things

    Composer: Karl Fiorini

    Performer: Dimitri Ashkenazy (Clarinet), Rebecca Raimondi (Violin), Stefan Kropfitsch (Cello), Charlene Farrugia (Piano)