This tightly constructed trio, Silent Voices by Benjamin Lees, written in 1998, opens with a forceful statement of an intense, rhythmic motive that is repeated and then developed among all three instruments. The subsequently unfolding material derives from that initial motive, which serves as a unifying element. Fragments of that material become gestures presented by each of the instruments—singly and in various combinations. Throughout, one hears each of the instrumental parts as “voices” in a straightforward, ongoing exposition. A pulsating figure, which served initially as an accompaniment to derivations of the original motive or as counterpoint, becomes the substance of the conclusion—as if to suggest that the voices silenced prematurely by violence, destruction, and death have faded to an echo of their once-vibrant pulse.
Composed primarily as a Holocaust memorial statement, this trio was also viewed by its composer as applicable to other, previous incidents involving the destruction or attempted destruction of Jewish communities and Jewish life—and even, by extension, analogous events involving other peoples:
This work represents a small gesture of remembrance to those whose voices were forever stilled by pogroms and genocides of the past. I have tried to blend the elements of drama, grief and lyricism into a very compact musical statement in the hope that this will be communicated to the listener.
Performers: Joseph Holt, Piano; Steven Honigberg, Cello; George Marsh, ViolinAdditional Credits:
Publisher: Boosey & Hawkes
This recording is license from Albany Records via Naxos of America
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