A Different Game: Piano Trios by Rhona Clarke


Catalogue No: MSV 28561
EAN/UPC: 809730856129
Release Date: March 2017
Discs: 1
Total Playing Time: 63:17

Rhona Clarke is one of the Irish composers living in a shadow – the perception that Irish music consists only of step-dancing, jigs and reels. Our ongoing series of Irish music albums should demonstrate that fallacy. Clarke’s work is eclectic, brilliant and varied – from relatively ‘tough’ constructs to quite tonal works with influences of jazz. Her Piano Trio No. 2 appeared on the previous Métier release ‘Dancing in Daylight’, prompting one review to hope for a whole album devoted to her work – here it is. As well as three full pieces for Piano Trio, there are three for members of the ensemble.

Apart from the said No. 2 Trio, all the works here are receiving the first recording.

The Fidelio Trio continues to gain an ever more positive reputation as one of Europe’s most skilful and innovative ensembles, and is also gaining quite a following in the USA. They record for Naxos, NMC, Resonus, Delphian and Col Legno as well as Métier.

Track Listing

    Rhona Clarke

  1. I. Piano Trio No. 3 – I. Tenderly (6:08)
  2. II. Piano Trio No. 3 – II. Expectantly (4:26)
  3. Gleann Da Loch (8:52)
  4. I. Piano Trio No. 2 – I (4:28)
  5. II. Piano Trio No. 2 – II (3:47)
  6. Con Coro (9:50)
  7. I. Piano Trio No. 4 – I. Moderato (6:14)
  8. II. Piano Trio No. 4 – II. Moderato – Allegro (4:25)
  9. III. Piano Trio No. 4 – III. Largo (3:55)
  10. IV. Piano Trio No. 4 – IV. Alllegro (4:57)
  11. In Umbra (5:50)



Irish new music is a significant yet relatively unknown facet of the European scene which is only now coming into its own… among its most vital practitioners, Rhona Clarke. The programme works well as a sequence – the trios separated by the heady evocation of Gleann Dá Loch and the sombre choral underlay of Con coro, then rounded off by the tranquillity of In umbra. The Fidelio Trio[‘s] expertise is second to none among present-day ensembles. Immediate sound, and a disc that does Clarke’s profile no harm at all.

” —Richard Whitehouse

Trios for piano, violin and cello as well as smaller works by Irish composer Rhona Clarke are well played by The Fidelio Trio. The musicians are acquainted with the composer and her music, and have recorded lively and expert performances.

” —Uwe Krusch

The Fidelio Trio plays with grace, commitment, and elegance. The acoustic on the studio recording is warm and rich Clarke’s writing for piano, cello, and violin is sensitive, introspective at times, never esoteric, and always communicative in a highly personal way. This recording offers a welcome sampling of Rhona Clarke’s instrumental work and goes a long way to enhancing her reputation as one of Ireland’s most original contemporary composers.

” —Carla Maria Verdino-Süllwold
American Record Guide

A coolness that doesn’t quite conceal the hint of a smile. Sorabji would approve…. all about atmosphere. The Fidelio Trio is fine musicians with an excellent sound.

” —Stephen Estep
The Chronicle

Rhona Clarke’s first album dedicated to her own music, skilfully played by The Fidelio Trio… it’s never hard to approach, and the sound is varied… a thoughtful album throughout.

” —Jeremy Condliffe
Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music

In Rhona Clarke’s very first album dedicated solely to her own music, she proves to be one of Ireland’s most interesting and convincing living modern composers. A Different Game features the considerable dynamic expressive capabilities of The Fidelio Trio performing six chamber compositions that stand out for the articulate flow of modern musical ideas and the structural strengths of the overarching form each work takes. Clarke comes through as an original stylist and a brilliant musical conversationalist on this disk. There is always something there to pique your musical imagination, never a moment when inspiration flags. I find the entire program heartily stimulating and nearly endlessly rewarding. Strongly recommended.

” —Grego Edwards
MusicWeb International

This CD explores six imaginative works. Each one is approachable, despite the composer making no concessions to the current craze for insipid minimalism so often in evidence in contemporary music. She has managed to create an exciting and often challenging personal voice that is always interesting and often quite beautiful. The trio’s playing on this new CD of music by Rhona Clarke is outstanding. Not only are they a hugely proficient ensemble, but are willing to perform solo pieces with equal proficiency.

” —John France