The Fidelio Trio: Dancing In Daylight

review trio x1 cong

Mention Dublin, dancing and light of some kind and your average music fan is going to think Thin Lizzy and Dancing in the Moonlight. We don’t think the composer of the piece that gives this CD its name was thinking of Phil Lynott and his chocolate stains but the two bits of music contrast well: Lynott represented one style of Irish music and his topic was furtiveness in the darkness, while Seóirse Bodley is writing about dancing not only literally in the daylight but in the spirit of nothing being concealed.

The CD starts with John Buckley’s Piano Trio, which opens with a drone-like sound, then erratic and jerky violin, with more regular piano. It represents the flickering images of a zoetrope, though it sounds a bit like an angry swarm of bees. Track two has a more modern feel and the piano becomes more melodic while the violin gets more erratic, a reversal of the previous section. This track represents a kaleidoscope and both pieces have constantly shifting patterns sound, to reflect (pun intended) the light patterns cast by each device. There are some of the same elements in track three but at seven minutes it paces itself better and spreads them out between more reflective sections. It represents a music box playing and winding down.

Fergus Johnston’s Piano Trio is next, which has three movements and takes in a boogie bass and a tango. It reminded us (a stretch we admit) of an instrumental Rush tune, something like La Villa Strangiato which progresses to increasingly complexity, with a repetitive riff and a pounding beat, then suddenly changes, in this case to a tango. There are flashes of Stravinsky in places.

Rhona Clarke’s Piano Trio No.2 is next, with two contrasting pieces, one slow and romantic and one faster. The Seóirse Bodley closes the CD. As said, it portrays a dance so from the off it’s got a full and bracing sound, though it has delicate moments and Bodley’s fondness for traditional Irish music is also clear; it’s the only piece that really sounds “Irish”.

Although this is modern music and it does sound “modern” in places it’s never challenging. The ending, thanks to Bodley, is very easy to digest and a nice wind-down, not quite folk but folksy.

We’ve listened to this a number of times and it’s better on headphones or in a quiet room, the better to appreciate it. We’re clearly being flippant talking about Thin Lizzy but it does have a modern feel that reminded us of prog bands such as Rush, who take chances and vary the music. The Fidelio Trio are Mary Dullea (piano), Adi Tal on cello and
Darragh Morgan (violin).

This is out now on Divine Art’s Metier label, MSV28556.

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