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<<  -- 2 --  Carson P Cooman    APPEALING LISTENING


The disc's opening work, Diablerie (2004), is a spirited unaccompanied violin solo -- inspired, it would seem, by the long-standing 'devilish' connotations of violin virtuosity. Wilson's work, however, is not a Paganini-esque 'free for all' rhapsody, but rather a tightly controlled development of the work's opening gestural material.

Wilson's Piano Trio (2002) is in four movements -- Energico, Reverie, Scherzo, and Theme and Variations. The opening movement is fleet and indeed energetic -- bounding lightly towards a quiet ending. Reverie is gentle and lyric, with surging lines emerging at points from more homophonic and calm textures. Scherzo is witty and dancing as flowing lines cross-cut colorfully between the three instruments [listen -- track 4, 0:00-1:49]. It swirls towards a wonderfully scored evaporating conclusion. The final Theme and Variations contains a variety of moods -- from the pensive opening theme (presented contrapuntally in the violin and cello, with dark piano commentary), to a mystical and shimmering variation mid-way through, to a march-like variation near the end. The theme returns at the conclusion in its original scoring and a short, violent coda ends the piece. It is the most extended work on the disc and also, to this listener, the most appealing.

Lord Chesterfield to His Son (1987) is an unaccompanied cello suite in which each of the seven short movements bears an aphoristic title taken from the writings of an 18th century English gentleman. The work is dedicated to Wilson's own son, who was aged seven at the time and learning the cello. The result is a character suite (although certainly not playable by a seven year-old!) in which each movement has a distinctly defined character, corresponding to the wry humor of some of the aphorisms such as 'Mimickry is the lowest and most illiberal of all buffoonery' [listen -- track 9, 0:00-0:49], 'Be seen to smile, but never heard to laugh', or 'Take care never to seem dark or mysterious.'

Three Interludes (1996/97) are very short movements for violin and piano, written between other larger works. While they do not contain the scope or variety that many of the other works present, the work would be quite appealing in its original performance context in which each movement was played between large standard repertoire violin sonatas, thus each movement acting as a small serving of 'palate cleansing sorbet'.

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Copyright © 3 July 2005 Carson P Cooman, Rochester, NY, USA


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