TRIO SOLIS Chamber Ensemble



Chamber Music by Babajanian, Francaix and Schoenfield

Arno Babajanian, Jean Francaix, Paul Schoenfield

Corinne Stillwell, Violin
Gregory Sauer, Violoncello
Read Gainsford, Piano




CRITICS CHOICE 2013: AMERICAN RECORD GUIDE [Stephen Estep, January/February 2013]

“…intense, passionate performances…audiophile-quality [recordings]”
Strings – December 2012
“This CD brings together three gems. Arno Babajanian’s piano trio begins with a largo redolent of Rachmaninov, and continues in a romantic fashion which must have been long out of style when he wrote the work in 1952. The composer, who was “discovered” by Khachaturian, unites each movement with a motto theme and spins long-limbed melodies for each instrument in turn; notable moments include the first movement’s abrupt ending and the andante’s glorious main tune. Jean Françaix’s trio has the neo-classical simplicity and bubbling humor which makes almost all of his music a delight to hear. The outer movements have rocking pizzicato for cello and there’s urbane French charm all over the place. Then we have Paul Schoenfield’s Café Music, one of the funniest and most good-natured pieces by any living composer. There are many influences on this album, from the Armenian mystique of the Babajanian to the outright jazziness of Café Music, with its quasi-improvisatory solos and wistful evocations of klezmer bands, Broadway nights, and old Vienna. The Babajanian is an awkward fit in the program because it doesn’t share in the light, dashing, witty mood of the other two works, but it is none the worse for that. So this is a very enjoyable hour of chamber music, even more so because it’s a great pleasure to spend that hour in the company of these three players. The Trio Solis, a group of teachers from Florida State University who banded together in 2008, are fully alive to the romantic moods of Babajanian and the charms of the other two composers. They are very well-recorded, which makes this an extremely easy disc to like and want others to like… This is a short review, but I don’t have much to say except that I liked this music a lot, it doesn’t require much description to appreciate, if you haven’t heard it you very much should, and the CD is terrific. The booklet is very well-done.”
Brian Reinhart, MusicWeb International – October 2012
“This is an exceptional recording. For starters, the release title comes closer to clever than to cliched—a rare thing. All the players are a pleasure to listen to… the ensemble and expression is top-notch. The sound is full and polished, warmly engineered… [Arno Babadjanyan’s music] is quite tonal and romantic… impetuous and turbulent… dusky and beautifully chromatic, a real treasure…  If you had looked at the name Francaix and put money down that the piece would probably be sunny and witty, you’d be walking home richer. Pieces like this are exactly what I love about 20th Century French music. Now, let’s face it—better melodies exist in several places; but the themes here are so well displayed that you can’t help delighting in them anyway… The trio pays a lot of attention to unity of phrasing and has an obvious affection for the music… [Paul Schoenfield’s Cafe Music has] a great feel to [the first movement] and the performance is perfectly idiomatic. In II, the players are somehow simultaneously steamy and relaxed. Even if the music weren’t so stunning…they would certainly make it so… This release was a breath of fresh air for me, one of the most enjoyable things I’ve reviewed lately... I’d travel quite a distance to hear this program in recital.”
Estep, American Record Guide – September/October 2012
“This is a very appealing program of disparate works for piano trio from the twentieth century… Babajanian is…of fairly conservative instincts... attractive…worth a visit and a return visit or two… [Francaix’s Trio’s] does not disappoint. It’s playful, mercurial in the manner of Les Six, but with a structural and rhythmic waywardness that suggests this is a fanciful, almost dreamlike appreciation of an earlier aesthetic. That’s certainly true of Paul Schoenfield’s Café Music, a loving tribute to the salon orchestras of the early twentieth century… So expect a mash-up of styles, a quite entertaining one. Since its debut in 1987, Schoenfield’s Café Music has garnered a lot of attention and appears on a number of recordings by younger, hipper music ensembles such as the Eroica Trio. I doubt they treat the piece more lovingly or fervently than does Trio Solis. In any event, Trio Solis gets my vote for imaginative programming, as well as impassioned, totally committed playing. MSR’s typically fine sonics seal the deal for me. This is a keeper!   *  *  *  *  *  =  5-Stars”
Lee Passarella, Audiophile Audition – July 2012
These three 20-century works reflect the culture and society of their times. Arno Babajanian’s piece catches the crosswinds of Europe and Asia as heard in the Soviet era republic of Armenia. Jean Françaix’s Trio bubbles with Parisian allure and élan. Paul Schoenfield’s Café Music is an energetic and clever mix of styles arising in the United States. The three composers were all excellent pianists, trained for the concert hall yet equally at home in vernacular styles. All three were precocious musicians, and all three had a mix of academic and independent careers. This music connects with its listeners—at times with heartfelt emotion and at other times with good-natured vitality.

With a dynamic combination of energy, creativity, and insight, Trio Solis (“of the sun”) was founded in 2008 by violinist Corinne Stillwell, cellist Gregory Sauer, and pianist Read Gainsford. Already distinguished as solo performers, these musicians have embarked on a journey together to explore the piano trio repertoire with a unique synergy of brilliant technique, probing musicianship and a wealth of experience. Highlights of recent seasons include the Trio’s debut on the Seven Days of Opening Nights series in Messiaen’s exalted Quartet for the End of Time with internationally
acclaimed clarinetist Richard Stoltzman. They were invited to be the featured soloists for the opening of the 2010-11 orchestral season in Tallahassee, performing Beethoven’s Triple Concerto in celebration of the extensive renovation of the historic Ruby Diamond Auditorium. Committed to sharing music by living composers with audiences, the group included the Piano Trio of Ellen Taaffe Zwilich in their Carnegie Hall debut program, and enjoys playing the Pulitzer Prize-winning Tempest Fantasy by Paul Moravec. They are also regularly featured artists in the biennial Festival of New
Music in Tallahassee, Florida. Beyond their performing activities, the members of Trio Solis are devoted teachers and maintain full studios at Florida State University. Their students have achieved
successes in competitions, won positions as teachers and performers, and been accepted at some of the world’s top graduate schools. In addition to master classes and school residencies, the Trio’s newest initiative, Building Bridges, benefits community organizations through collaborative performances with outstanding young musicians at the beginning of their careers.

[ ]
Largo – Allegro espressivo
Allegro vivace

JEAN FRANÇAIX (1912-1997)

Rubato – Andante moderato

MSR Classics