07_urban_variationsUrban Variations

The Junction Trio

Independent TJTCD201101 (www.myspace.com/thejunctiontrio)

In their cover photo they look gritty and hard-edged, staring expressionless into the camera, in the style of punk rockers.  A part of Jamie Thompson’s Urban Flute Project, which has a history of seeking out unusual urban performance spaces, where acoustics trump décor, this presentation of the Junction Trio seems appropriate enough. Even a cursory listening to the CD, however, reveals that art trumps the visuals, with accomplished readings of music by Bach, Borodin, Haydn and Vivaldi.

The highlights of the CD for me, however, were the two compositions by the trio’s violinist, Max Scheinin. The first of these is his arrangement of Radiohead’s song, Where I End and You Begin, which it is no mistake to refer to as a “composition.” In the tradition of so many composers, Scheinin has taken this piece from its over-amplified rock concert beginnings - contemporary “folk?” - and transformed it into an exquisite piece of chamber music, which, to my ears anyway, sounds more contemporary than the original! In his other work on the disc, Flutter, built on a repeated ostinato pattern introduced by the unaccompanied flute, he builds to a climax by adding the other instruments, including percussion, played by the ensemble’s versatile cellist, Lucas Tensen. Best of all in these two works by Scheinin, the players seem most at home and most able to find and convey the meaning behind the sounds. Kudos to the Junction Trio for bringing us something that is both classical and contemporary.

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