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Listening Quest #7: The Gryphon Trio

Monday, December 7, 2015 by Vicki Martin | Listening Quest

I'd like to introduce you today to the Gryphon Trio. While a trio can be any group of three instruments, a piano trio is usually piano, violin, and viola, and composers have been writing music for this group for centuries. The Gryphon Trio is made up of Jamie Parker on piano, Annalee Patipatanakoon on violin, and Roman Borys on cello. They are an award-winning Canadian group known not only for playing the classical standards like Beethoven's piano trios, but also for crossing boundaries into other genres and including other singers and instrumentalists in some of their recordings. The recording below is from their album Tango Nuevo which features Latin American and Spanish music and is one of my favourites. This is a piece by Astor Piazzolla (pe-at-ZOL-la), who was from Argentina and composed music like the traditional tangos of his country but including elements of classical and jazz music. He was a bandoneon player, which is much like an accordion, and if you use your imagination, you can hear an accordion playing along!

Extra Exploring: In something more classical, here is the Gryphon Trio playing one of Beethoven's trios nicknamed the "Archduke" because it was dedicated to the Archduke Rudolph of Austria who was a patron, friend, and student of Beethoven's.

Extra Extra Exploring: If you couldn't imagine a bandoneon or accordion playing along, you don't have to imagine it. Here is Piazzolla himself playing the same song. The recording quality isn't great, but that's him, and that's a bandoneon!