Episode: Ellen Taaffe Zwilich's Quintet


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Ellen Taaffe Zwilich's Quintet
Performers need composers and composers need performers. And some performers really like composers–and vice versa. That seems to be the case with the Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson Trio, comprised of Joseph Kalichstein, piano; Jaime Laredo, violin; and Sharon Robinson, cello, and the Pulitzer Prize-winning American composer Ellen Taaffe Zwilich. On today’s date in 2011, at a La Jolla Music Society concert in San Diego, California, the Trio premiered the fourth work they had commissioned from Zwilch. She created a blues-y piano quintet, scored for the same ensemble as Schubert’s famous “Trout” Quintet, so for this “blue trout” Quintet, the Trio were joined by violist Michael Tree and double-bassist Harold Robinson. In notes for her new piece, Zwilich wrote: "My Quintet is in three movements, the second of which has the title ‘Die Launische Forelle' (roughly translated: ‘The Moody Trout'). I couldn't resist using a very small quote from the Schubert song on which his Quintet is based. I also took the liberty of allowing that movement to spin out musical images of a ‘moody' trout. In all three movements the weight and character of the contrabass is an important element in the overall design.”

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