Ravel & Schubert
This is the debut CD of the newest and freshest chamber group to present these traditional favorites of the repertoire. Icicle Creek Piano Trio consists of three young, well-educated, highly experienced musicians of world class caliber. Jennifer Caine, violin Sally Singer, cello Oksana Ezhokina,piano '...any past recommendations I may have made for recordings of Schubert's E?-Major Piano Trio are hereby rendered null and void by this new release. The performance by the Icicle Creek Trio comes as close to being "definitive" as any I expect to hear in my lifetime.' '...a performance that transcends all the usual plaudits of pitch-perfect intonation, ideal pacing, polished ensemble playing, and even interpretive insight and musical intelligence. There is something both magical and exalted happening here, a communing of spirits so sensitive and responsive to every nuance of expression that three souls merge into one, and only one voice is heard: Schubert's. It may be an odd way to describe a musical performance, but I felt as though a reading this beautiful should only exist in an otherworldly state of moral perfection and pure grace.' 'Everything I've said above about the Icicle Trio's playing and recording in the Schubert applies in the Ravel. This is a chamber ensemble I look forward to hearing soon in much more of the mainstream piano trio repertoire. A five-star recommendation.' --Jerry Dubins Fanfare Magazine, May 2009 'After not even five seconds, I was aware of this group's exquisitely bright tuning and the gentle atmosphere they create for Ravel's impressionist masterpiece. 'The opening Allegro [Schubert] here is bright, light, fleet; the piano is rippling; and the results are gorgeously shaded. The development has almost the sway of a waltz and is extraordinarily sweet-so preferable to a forced pounding approach that can make it seem interminable. The nuances that open II add poignant touches to it's walking tune; each crescendo and decrescendo is treated poetically, each dotted note is given a buoyant lift, and the Piu Lento coda is a touch of heaven. The main section of the canonic Scherzo is light and tripping, while it's trio is given the neatest touch of swagger. In the final Allegro the players are also careful to observe the Moderato direction, giving the style enough of a 'kid's touch' for it to have playfulness (otherwise it can be deadly).' -Gil French - American Record Guide, March/April 2009 'The playing is warmly considered, meticulous in articulation and blend, and silken in sonority. Violinist Jennifer Caine, cellist Sally Singer, and pianist Oksana Ezhokina gauge Schubert's brooding lines with affecting subtlety. They emphasise the music's contrasts of light and dark within a true chamber-music context, as if they're seated in the room feet away from your ears. 'The Icicle Creek musicians pair Schubert with Ravel's Piano Trio, which they limn in shadings of exquisite sheen and vibrancy. The score's mysterious radiance receives as much attention as the sweeping activity. Icy it most definitely is not.' --Donald Rosenberg, Gramophone Magazine April 20099 'They catch all the subtle, shimmering shades of the Ravel Trio, but this is essentially a young, virile and robust view of the score. I particularly enjoyed the piano's spiky introduction to a second movement that is illuminated by brilliant flashes of light. 'By contrast the Passacaille has that nice, languid feeling of a midday reverie, eased forward on gentle movement. 'Their approach to the Schubert is literal and free of those mannerisms that have become encrusted on the work over the years. Tempos are true to the essence of the music, with a real walking gait to the second movement forming the backdrop to a beautifully played cello solo.' --David Denton, Strad Magazine April 2009 "...astonishing level of ensemble playing...Polish and professionalism" "ready to really make a dent on the chamber music world" "...a crystalline performance of the work, with equal attention to Ravel's passion and precision." Program Ravel: Piano Trio in a minor 1. Modéré 8:56 2. Pantoum (Assez vif) 4:28 3. Passacaille (Très large) 6:55 4. Final (Animé) 5:11 Schubert: Piano Trio In E Flat, Op. 100 5. Allegro 12:01 6. Andante Con Moto 9:39 7. Scherzando : Allegro Moderato 6:49 8. Allegro Moderato 13:52 Total 67:54 The Icicle Creek Piano Trio is the Ensemble-in-Residence at the Icicle Creek Music Center, a non-profit organization in Leavenworth, Washington. As well as offering year-round concerts in the center's picturesque Canyon Wren Concert Hall and an intensive international chamber music festival and institute each July, the artists maintain busy private studios and offer regular coaching sessions to local and visiting young ensembles. The members of the Icicle Creek Piano Trio originated from the US, UK, and Russia. Together and as individuals, Mss. Caine, Singer, and Ezhokina have performed in venues such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Alice Tully Hall, the Phillips Collection, and the Royal Albert Hall, and have toured in Austria, Germany, France, Italy, and the UK. Regionally and on the West Coast, they have performed at Pacific Lutheran University, the University of Puget Sound, the Seattle Sherman Clay Recital Hall, the Governor's Mansion in Olympia, Benaroya Hall in Seattle, the University of Santa Barbara, Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle, and Davies Hall in San Francisco. Collectively, they have earned academic and performance degrees from Harvard University, Oxford University, the Royal College of Music, State University of New York at Stony Brook, University of Texas at Austin, the Royal Northern College of Music, Northern Illinois University, Walla Walla College, and the Ryazan School of Music in Russia. Jennifer Caine, violinist, was the first prize winner of the Yamaha Music Foundation of Europe Competition in 2004 and recipient of several awards including the Isolde Menges Prize, Polonsky Foundation Grant and Frank Huntington Beebe Grant for Musicians. She has performed in concerts throughout the U.S. and Europe, and at music festivals including the Olympic Music Festival, Soesterberg International Music Festival, Music@Menlo, and Norfolk, Yellow Barn and Sarasota Music Festivals. In the U.K., she performed extensively as a recitalist and chamber musician, and co-founded the Knox Piano Trio, which toured England and Northern Ireland. As an orchestral musician, she has appeared in concerts with the London Symphony Orchestra, Oxford Philomusica, and Seattle Symphony. Ms. Caine is Resident Violinist at Icicle Creek Music Center and violinist of the Icicle Creek Piano Trio. Her recent collaborations in the Seattle area have included the Odeon String Quartet, Seattle Chamber Players, and Sanssouci Chamber Ensemble, and she regularly performs on the Simple Measures and Second City Chamber Series. She is a graduate of Harvard University with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Music and Slavic Languages and Literatures, and holds Master of Music Degrees from the Royal College of Music and Oxford University. Her teachers and coaches have included Grigori Zhislin, Zinaida Gilels, Olga Yanovich, Robert Lipsett, Elisabeth Adkins, Robert Levin and Daniel Stepner. Oksana Ezhokina, is a native of Ryazan, Russia. The winner of piano competitions in Russia and the United States, Ms. Ezhokina has given numerous solo and chamber performances in both countries. Her collaborations have included concerts with such ensembles as the Seattle Chamber Players, Klimt Piano Trio and the Contemporary Chamber Players. A dedicated performer of works by contemporary composers, she has premiered music by Laura Kaminsky and Paul Drescher, among others. Ms. Ezhokina was awarded a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in piano performance from the State University of New York at Stony Brook in 2004. She also holds an Artist Diploma from the Ryazan School of Music in Russia, a Master of Music degree in piano from Northern Illinois University and a Bachelor of Music degree from Walla Walla College. Her principal teachers were Christina Dahl, Donald Walker, Leonard Richter and Eleanor Oragyoff, and she has coached chamber music with pianists Gilbert Kalish and Seymour Lipkin as well as members of the Juilliard, Emerson, Orion and Vermeer String Quartets. Ms. Ezhokina is Resident Pianist at Icicle Creek Music Center, is Co-Artistic Director and teaches a full piano studio at the Music Center. Sally Singer, cellist from the United Kingdom, has an extensive background in solo and chamber music performance. She has toured in Britain, France, Italy, Austria and Germany with ensembles and has played in the major concert halls of London, New York and Vienna. As a soloist, Ms. Singer has appeared recently with the Danbury Symphony Orchestra, CT, the Stony Brook Symphony Orchestra and the Pleven Philharmonic, Bulgaria, where the Polemics of Art Journal review referred to her interpretation of Elgar's cello concerto as "a performance of the highest caliber, which will leave life-long memories for every person in the audience." She was a top prizewinner in the Corpus Christi International Young Artists competition, won the John Ireland Chamber Music Competition and received two fellowships to the Tanglewood Music Center in Lenox, MA, as well as many awards and scholarships from her institutions of study. She has appeared on British National Television several times and has performed and interviewed live for National Public Radio, Seattle, King FM, Koho Radio and KUT. Ms. Singer was awarded First Class honors at the Royal Northern College of Music, has a Masters degree from the University of Texas at Austin, and a Doctorate in Musical Arts from the State University of New York, Stony Brook, where she studied cello performance with Timothy Eddy. She has given master classes in New York, Texas, Washington and Australia, and has a flourishing private studio. Formerly a member of the Vovka Ashkenazy and Klimt Piano Trios, she is now a member of the Icicle Creek Piano Trio. In addition to maintaining a busy performing schedule, Ms. Singer is Co-Artistic Director of the Icicle Creek Music Center and Co-Director of the Center's summer Chamber Music Institute. Trio Reviews/Quotes "...astonishing level of ensemble playing...Polish and professionalism"... "ready to really make a dent on the chamber music world" - Xak Bjerken (member Los Angeles Piano Quartet) "...a crystalline performance of the work, with equal attention to Ravel's passion and precision." - classicalseattle.blogspot.com Individual Reviews For Ms. Singer: "a performance of the highest caliber, which will leave life-long memories for every person in the audience." - Polemics of Art Journal (Bulgaria) For Ms. Caine: "...Complete mastery over her instrument and a highly developed musical sense..." - Judy Gruber, The Washington Post For Ms. Ezhokina: "The musicians played superbly throughout. I've never before heard it done as well." - Heuwell Tircuit, San Francisco Classical Voice.