Pianist Thomas Larcher once lamented that he was unable to “get away from the piano’s natural sound... with all the intensity that marks a musician’s relationship to his instrument.” He went on to equate “this sound” to “something worn out, obsolete…”
Meanwhile, Elaine Lau, Joseph Ferretti and Stephanie Chua, collectively junctQín, have been toying with the instrument, with radical and experimental joy, since 2009. Their magical adventure takes place both on all the 88 keys as well as inside their respective pianos as they continue to bend and shape the 311-year-old (and counting) instrument to their will. reTHiNK is not only an appropriate title for their new selection of works, it might easily be seen as an ongoing one. The performances of junctQín, after all, are always evolving. This recording is sure to be remembered as being unique in their repertoire.
On reTHiNK the trio dazzle the senses with an arresting performance. The captivating music fuses contemplative harmonies with innovative performance techniques. As a result, music as radically eloquent as Alfred Schnittke’s 1979 Hommage à Stravinsky, Prokofiev, & Shostakovich is not only re-imagined, but redefined in 21st-century terms. This is also true – perhaps more remarkably so – of Maurice Ravel’s 1918 work, Frontispice. The wonders never cease as junctQín teases out the mysteries of works by Finnish composer Tomi Räisänen and Canadians Monica Pearce, Emily Doolittle, Chris Thornborrow, Alex Eddington and Elisha Denburg in an embarrassment of riches.