On Sunday, Oct. 13, the Enid Trio put on a sublime show at Harper Hall, where they performed works by Wisconsin native and composer Wilhelm Matthies, Paul Hindemith, Zach Zubow and Lewis Nielson. The trio is made up of Lawrence alumna and violinist Megan Karls ‘07, as well as violist Virginian Megan Gray and bassoonist Stephanie Patterson. Acclaimed for their roles in re-imagining standard works as well as commissioning new works, the trio put on a great show.
The first piece, titled “Wind, Water and Waves,” featured a short video created by Matthies. Divided into 12 vignettes, the video featured two field recordings of waves crashing against a shore under various effects. Much as performers interact with the music in chamber music, the same principle applied here as the trio played a beautiful piece while listening to each other and the waves in the background.
The second piece by Paul Himmett, titled “Des kleinen Elektromusikers Lieblinge,” is a piece that premiered in Berlin in the 1930s and was one of the first explorations of electronic music. The Enid Trio, however, opted to play the piece acoustically. While there are versions of the piece that are meant for three string trios or three woodwind trios, the Trio mixed things up and gave their own unique spin by playing the piece with two string instruments and one woodwind instrument. Unlike the calm and serene sounds of “Wind, Water and Waves,” this piece featured lighter beats and a more upbeat feel.
Following intermission, the trio went on to perform two more pieces. Zubow’s “Rain in Summer,” which was inspired by and written during a rainstorm in the middle of summer. Zubow frequently uses poetry as an inspirational element in his works and in this case, the poem “Rain and Summer,” by American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, was the source of motivic element.
Longfellow’s poem explores the effects of rain on objects and how rain can sometimes distort how an objects looks. With this in mind, Zubow was inspired to think of how ideas, in particular elements or ideas in music, are constantly coming in and out of focus as if they are being rained upon. Zubow was inspired to write a piece in which he combines the elements of electronic music and allows them to interact with the classical sounds. Like how a rainstorm may play out, the beginning of the piece started off chaotic, suggesting the heavy period of the rainstorm. A few measures later, however, the sound changes and becomes rather light and slow. Just like a rainstorm, the tempo and pitches range from slow to fast to slow again.
The last piece performed was by Lewis Nielson, inspired by the Chilean poet Pablo Neruda and his “100 Love Sonnets.” Titled “Recordaras,” the piece also featured the voices of each member as they sang fragments of the song in Spanish. It was a beautiful piece that induced some goose bumps via its uniqueness and unconventionality. With some individual plucking of the viola or violin strings at times or the use of their mouths to make hissing sounds, it was hard to latch on to anything familiar in the piece but that is what made it so great. Overall, the Trio’s bold approach to their pieces and the unique sounds as well as elements that they brought with them made for a very interesting and enjoyable set.