Arlene Sierra: Volume 3, Butterflies Remember a Mountain – Avian Mirrors; Butterflies Remember a Mountain; Counting-Out Rhyme; Of Risk and Memory; Truel

Reviewed on Thu 14 Feb, 2019

Truel, the tense, taut first piano trio, is realised with pugilistic pungency by the Horszowski Trio, Avian Mirrors a mesmerising conversation in birdsong between Jesse Mills’s violin and Raman Ramakrishnan’s cello.

This third volume in Bridge’s invaluable survey of Arlene Sierra hones in on chamber music composed between 1997 and 2013. Cellist Leonard Elschenbroich (who commissioned it), violinist Nicola Benedetti and pianist Alexei Grynyuk provide fierce, poetic advocacy for the title track, Sierra’s second piano trio. Inspired by migration patterns of Monarch butterflies, it’s packed with kinetic imagery and atmospherics carried along by a focus-shifting fluidity owing something to Ravel’s direct impressionism and Tōru Takemitsu’s detached delicacy. Truel, the tense, taut first piano trio, is realised with pugilistic pungency by the Horszowski Trio, Avian Mirrors a mesmerising conversation in birdsong between Jesse Mills’s violin and Raman Ramakrishnan’s cello. The piano duet Of Risk and Memory plunges Quattro Mani into constant peristaltic motion in music of often seething (and not a little disturbing) drama. Counting-out Rhyme is a delightful miniature, played with bright, skittish ebullience by cellist Ramakrishnan and Rieko Aizawa on piano. Excellent recorded sound adds to the pleasure of a disc that merits and rewards repeated listening.
–Michael Quinn