A sublime but unusual instrument combination loved by audiences worldwide for its versatility and golden sound. Chamber music for this trilogy of instruments was pioneered by Claude Debussy, drawn to the colours of the instrumental sounds.
Trilogy Ensemble was founded in 2019 by three musicians and chamber music lovers - Amy-Jayne, Bethan and Henrietta. We bring the thrill of experiencing live chamber music to local communities.
- · Andante espressivo
- · Allegro vivo
- Ibert was a prolific Parisian composer, fifteen years younger than Ravel. The two interludes come from Ibert's incidental music for Suzanne Lilar's play Le Burlador (The Seducer), a feminist take on the Don Juan story. The interludes make a beautiful slow-fast pairing and are a perfect representative of the Franco-Iberian mélange found throughout the music of Massenet, Debussy and Ravel. The first interlude is a timeless French minuet. The second interlude is Spanish - a fiery Andalusian dance 'alla Gitano'. The harp figures imitating the flamenco guitar while the melodic lines weave between viola and flute.
Vivaldi: Trio Sonata in A minor arr. Bethan Griffiths
III. Largo cantabile
IV. Allegro Molto
Trilogy's own Bethan Griffiths turned her hand to arranging this lovely trio sonata. - We are very glad she did! We've been discovering how well baroque music translates to the flute, viola, harp sound world. This was originally for continuo (keyboard), recorder and bassoon. Henri has been discovering exactly how fast baroque bassoons can play, and in this arrangement, you can hear the original instrument's colours coming through. The importance of exploring such baroque works is that in much of the French music of Debussy and Ravel, you can hear dance styles such as the baroque French minuet form in Debussy's iconic Sonate for this combination of instruments. And so it is the privilege of more contemporary composers to be able to look back on more ancient forms and sound-worlds.
Ravel: Sonatine arr. Trilogy Ensemble
II. Movement de Menuet
Originally a piano work, Ravel composed the first movement for a competition, which sadly was pulled, but he most likely would have won! He often toured the first two movements, leaving out the third as he considered himself not proficient enough a pianist to perform it. The work has been arranged for several instrument combinations, this arrangement is by Trilogy Ensemble, and a lovely challenge it was!
Miguel del Aguila: Submerged
Written in 2013 was commissioned by Hat Trick and Brigham Young University. It is based on Alfonsina Storni’s romantic, surrealist poem “Yo en el fondo del mar”. On the surface, both the poem and music seem innocent and light-hearted, but one feels differently when the author’s fascination with the sea, and her later suicide by drowning in it, are taken into consideration.
The piece follows the form of the poem except for the lively introduction and a coda which illustrate the poet’s childhood near her native Argentine Andes, and in Switzerland. With six harp loud chords, the piece “falls” deep underwater: this slow middle section is mysterious, intimate and magical. It recreates the poem’s isolated submerged world where fish with flowers, octopus and sirens dance while birds chirp happily far above water. The harp uses unusual extended techniques, some stemming from Paraguayan harp playing. The viola adds a rhythmic edge by playing constant multiple stop pizzicati imitating a Charango. The flute is the Quena of the ensemble and it uses often extended techniques as well. “In my interpretation of Storni’s poem this underwater world is that special place of isolation where many artists withdraw to create, a place and mood that can easily turn into depression. A place that ultimately Alfonsina chose to remain and which became her death. In my Submerged, I continued the events of the poem and made the listener return to the real world above water. This return is triggered by the memories of her childhood played by the harp and viola as a music box Ländler which turns into a Vidalita, both music which Alfonsina would have heard in her childhood.? –
Miguel del Aguila
Yo en el fondo del mar from Mundo de siete pozos (1934)
Storni, Alfonsina ( 1892 – 1937 )
Published by Tor, Buenos Aires (1935)
Me at the Bottom of the Sea
Alfonsina Storni (1892-1938)
(from World of Seven Wells, 1934)
At the bottom of the sea
there is a house
made of glass,
at the edge
of a coral-lined road.
A big golden fish
comes to greet me
it brings me
a red bouquet
of coral as flowers.
I sleep on a bed
than the sea.
now winks at me
through the glass.
In the green forest
that surrounds me
swaying mermaids sing
—ding, dong … ding, ding—
in their nacre and aquamarine.
And above my head
glow in the twilight
the prickling pins of the sea.
Translation by M. del Aguila (2013)
Mel Bonis: Scenes from the Forest 'Invocation'
Melanie went under several names in order to publish her works under the social norms of her time, but is mostly known as Mel. We discovered her music recently - her late Romantic sound world fit perfectly for harp, flute and viola. Her ‘Scenes from the Forest’ tell a tale of night music in a forest. Here we perform a moonlight invocation to mother Nature.
Jolivet: Petite Suite
II.Modéré sans traîner
The Petite suite (1941) as homage to Debussy and is entirely summery - think lazy days in the sun. But Jolivet's style in its migrating harmonic changes and rhythmic accent are all his. Extended techniques for the flute include flutter-tonguing and rolling for glissandi in the harp create the distinctive sound-world of the suite.
Debussy: Sonata for Flute, Viola and Harp
Pastorale: Lento, dolce rubato
Interlude: Tempo di minuetto
Finale: Allegro moderato ma risoluto
“I can’t say whether one should laugh or cry. Perhaps both at the same time?” Debussy
Debussy had set out to compose six sonatas, but only three were completed before his death in 1918. This Sonata for an unusual instrument combination was one. In three movements, it explores a dreamlike world in which the three instruments combine their distinctive voices. The second movement makes use of the French Baroque minuet form and the last movement closes the trio with fire and rhythmic accent. It is this work which solidified the flute - harp - viola as a conventional chamber music format, inspiring composers to continue to write for its golden sound.