Michael Zev Gordon: In the Middle of Things – Fragments from a Diary; False Relations; Grace; Roseland; Three Short Pieces for Clarinet; Diary Pieces 2015; A Small Folly; In the Middle of Things

Reviewed on Tue 18 Jun, 2019

In the Middle of Things finds the Fidelio threesome admirably sure-footed on sliding, shifting, erupting tectonic plates that play with temporal incongruities to telling effect.

Clarinettist Julian Bliss and the Fidelio Trio prove articulate cheerleaders for Michael Zev Gordon in this two-decade-spanning compendium of expressive, well-crafted chamber pieces. Bliss joins the Trio for the innocently poetic, excitedly animated, movingly introspective miniatures of Fragment from a Diary and the dream-like blending of Chopin and bossa nova in A Small Folly, before taking centre stage for the exquisite, Zen-like economies of the Three Short Pieces for Clarinet. In the Middle of Things finds the Fidelio threesome admirably sure-footed on sliding, shifting, erupting tectonic plates that play with temporal incongruities to telling effect. Pianist Mary Dullea is adroitly delicate, deliberate, intimate and intense in the Diary Pieces 2015. Violinist Darragh Morgan joins her for the knotty False Relations and achingly poetic Grace, and cellist Adi Tal for Roseland, a fragile, fraught intertwining of My Funny Valentine, Jewish liturgical chant and Schumann’s Dichterliebe. Solid playing throughout, revealing booklet notes by Gordon and excellent sound.
–Michael Quinn