cd review - Neither From Nor Towards
The Thelema Trio’s modular nature, even within the context
of being a trio, is one of its primary strengths and they strut
their stylistic, coloristic, versatile stuff with this collection
of pieces. No two works share the same instrumentation nor do any
of the compositions share the same sound world. The only performer
not showcased with a solo feature of some sort is the pianist but
Ward De Vleeschhouwer is a superb collaborative artist who can highlight
his abilities within a chamber music setting. Peter Verdonck has
excellent tone and energy on alto, tenor, and baritone saxophones
and Marc Antonio Mazzini has a lithe and supple sound on standard
or bass clarinet. Together, the two reed players have a perfectly
communal sound quality.
Each piece on the disc showcases the Thelema Trio’s mercuriality.
"Thelema" is a word one does not run into every day; it is one of the Greek words meaning "will" -- as in, thy will be done -- and was adopted as a central tenet in the work of early 20th century occultist Aleister Crowley. One chamber group making its own kind of alchemy is the Thelema Trio; though founded in Belgium, it frequently works in the United States and consists of an interesting, do-it-yourself combination of instruments: saxophones (Peter Verdonck), clarinets (Marco Antonio Mazzini), and piano (Ward De Vleeschhouwer). The group is building a repertoire with this combination, whether it is duets with the winds, duets with one wind and piano, all three together, or a solo showcase for a single member of the group, and this collection -- Innova's Neither From Nor Towards… -- highlights pieces the Thelema Trio commissioned from composers in the Western Hemisphere.
Overall, Neither From Nor Towards… is a pretty strong collection, though it's hard not to have a special preference for South Korean-born American composer HyeKyung Lee's Shadowing, a slithery, minimalistic duet for alto sax and clarinet steadily chasing one another along a similar harmonic path; it's mesmerizing.
cd review - T H E L E M A . . .
"A good book should grab your complete attention right from
the very first sentence. And I believe the same should happen with
a CD: as soon as I hear the first notes, I want to have the feeling
that I can’t tear my ears away until I have heard it all. Ideally
you should be able to listen to a CD as if you were at a concert.
And this is what happens to me when I listen to the Thelema Trio’s CD.
It means never being tempted to skip ahead to the next track. Juan María Solare has you on the edge of your seat right from the start, and his piece is followed by music so varied that your attention never wanes.
From colourful madness to the most intense music. From Italian lyricism to rhythms reminiscent of Stravinsky, from impressionism to insanity and back to meditation. It’s a treat for the ears. And it is not just the compositions by Juan María Solare, Giorgio Colombo Taccani, Luca Vanneschi, Ward De Vleeschhouwer, Philemon Mukarno, Korneel Bernolet, Hans-Henrik Nordstrøm and Peter Verdonck that make this CD a pleasure to listen to, but above all the superb playing by the trio. If all new CD’s could reach this high level, there would be far more reason to listen to contemporary music."
Harry Sparnaay, bass clarinettist
The conference was preceded by an unusual and most interesting concert by the Thelema Trio of Belgium on Wednesday evening. The evening's fare consisted of works written especially for the trio by one of its members or others. Each of the players, Ward De Vleeschhouwer (piano and electronic keyboard), Peter Verdonck (alto, tenor and baritone saxophone) and Marco Antonio Mazzini (clarinet, bass and contrabass clarinet), made each new mix of instruments work like a charm and seemingly switched effortlessly among their instruments without a glitch. All of the works presented on this concert were from Europe or South America and represented composers who had written works especially for the trio to play on this concert as part of a tour of the US and South America. The works presented offered a very wide range of styles, new performance techniques, and a chance for each performer to really shine and strut performance chops that seemed endless and yet continued to grow with each new piece we heard."
Greg A Steinke
(concert review of the Society of Composers, Inc. National Conference presented by the School of Music, the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, October 12–15, 2005) © 2005
"They were unlike anything I had ever heard before, and a great experience to be a part of."
Western Oregon University, Oregon, USA
"...Special guests include the Thelema Trio, a Belgian ensemble which has performed in Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands, Japan and Peru. Their orchestral style incorporates energetic sounds of rock and jazz, making them one of the most original modern ensembles in the world."
(press review of the 27th New Music and Art Festival in Bowling Green, Ohio)
Thelema Trio in Sabam
magazine, a Belgian association for authors, composers and
Click to enlarge
Presskit in Dutch 990 KB
Presskit in English 990 KB