Joan Tower: Review: “For Daniel”

At Tanglewood...the Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson Trio important recent work, For Daniel, by Joan Tower, composed as a memorial to a beloved nephew who died too young two years ago. The piece depicts the nephew’s complex of emotions as Tower experienced them during his long illness and its terminal stages on a lung machine; naturally it embodies the composer’s emotions too.

The rhythms of the piece are governed by the efforts of breathing. The music begins with violin and cello alone, together, then parting ways. The anguish is unremitting, but so is the vitality and the rush of raw emotions, often in conflict — there is acceptance as well as anger and grieving, as in a ravishing splash of water music that recalls Liszt or Ravel. The piano trio is an ideal medium for expressing the simultaneous presence of complementary or contradictory feelings.

The performance was as intense, strong, and involving as the piece, and there was a heartfelt ovation for Tower at its close.

—Richard Dyer, The Boston Globe

Joan Tower
For Daniel
Duration: 17'
Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson Trio
18 August 2005; Tanglewood Music Festival, Lenox, MA

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