From America To Greece | Galan Trio: Kinesis (January 20, 2023 / Neuma Records)

From America To Greece
Galan Trio: Kinesis
(January 20, 2023 / Neuma Records)

During the long COVID pandemic, Athens-based Galan Trio gave themselves a musical challenge: to commission work from US-based composers, and then assemble a recording from the other side of the Atlantic. 

Galan Trio: Kinesis

The Galan Trio consists of Petros Bouras on piano, Babis Karasavvidison violin, and Marina Kolovou on the cello. Kinesis comes from the Greek word κίνησις - movement - expressing their desire to break free of the pandemic's constraints. 

The first disc of the double-CD release consists of works from the US Southeast: Hairpin Turn by Paul Richards; Ictus by Martin Gendelman; Prelude of What Follows the Death of Tomorrow by Nickitas Demos; Look of Sky by Scott Robbins; Cyanic Outbursts by Yiorgos Vassilandonakis.

Is there a defining mood to the music? If anything, the works on the first disc showcase the depth and breadth of contemporary classical music, from the brightly rhythmic Richards through the dramatic turns of Gendelman, moody Demos and back again.

The second disc features composers from the Northeast: Attempting to Conjure Joy by Ken Steen; Ghost Town Sounds by John Levey; Dance Music for a Frenetic Mind by Todd Groves; Chaconne from a Distance by Matthew Greenbaum, and Piano Trio #1 - Kinematic Contraption by David Martynuik.

The pieces reflect personal responses to isolation. Steen plays with the spaces and silences as well as the evocative music, leaning on the piano's voice. Levey's three-movements evoke big western skies and open spaces. American movie music comes to mind in the melodies of Groves' piece, while there is an unsettling edge to Greenbaum's Chaconne. Martynuik's Piano Trio ends the disc on a brighter note of melodic modernism.

Through them all, the Galan Trio play with sensitivity and passion, looking to illuminate the core of each composition through expression. You won't have to reminisce about the dark days of the pandemic lockdowns to enjoy this release.