What People Are Saying |
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What People are Saying about Haven Trio

CVNC Arts Journal North Carolina

Review of all we are given we cannot hold: “The trio performs with the grace and intimacy of musicians who know one another well and play together often. [Lindsay] Kesselman captured the sweetness and heartbreak of life in each of these. Midori Koga‘s delicate touch on the piano keys woke me up. And clarinetist Kimberly Cole Luevano, drawing from a wide palette, wove in and out of the foreground, snatching bits of Kesselman’s vocal timbres to create a fine fabric.”

Sequenza 21/

Review of all we are given we cannot hold: “If a composer is able to find a poet who is a muse, they are fortunate indeed; a living poet, doubly so. David Biedenbender engaged in close collaboration with Robert Fanning in creating two vocal pieces that are programmed on his Blue Griffin CD All We Are Given We Cannot Hold. Soprano Lindsay Kesselman has bonded with these works in a special way as well, imparting both words and music assuredly, her beautiful voice, dynamic control, and impressive upper register making her an ideal advocate for Biedenbender’s work. […]

 

Kesselman is part of the group Haven Trio. Joined by clarinetist Kimberly Cole Luevano and pianist Midori Koga, the soprano performs all we are given we cannot hold, a song cycle with settings of [Robert] Fanning. “The Darkness, Literal and Figurative” features an oscillating two chord pattern in the piano, descending lines in the clarinet, and a delicately delivered yet rangy vocal line. “One and a half miles away” is declamatory, with repeated piano bass notes. “Watching my Daughter through the One Way Mirror of a Preschool Observation Window” is one of the most touching of Fanning’s poems, analogizing the view of his young child with the view he hopes to get of his grown children from the beyond. A duet between Kesselman and Luevano alternates segments of the main melody, while Koga plays swaths of harmony. The distant thunder of bass octaves and a clarinet cadenza accompany a recitative from Kesselman in “Model Nation,” ultimately replaced by piano ostinatos and scalar mirroring from the clarinet to reframe the high-lying singing into flowing melody. The cycle’s final song begins with dissonances from piano and clarinet; upon Kesselman’s entry these are filled in with pantonal harmonies. There is a winsome character present, with the narrator observing the clippings from his children’s haircuts; rather than sweeping them up, allowing the wind to take them. “The wind will take what we forget to sweep. And cannot keep.” An allied sentiment to watching his daughter in preschool, the sense of impermanence delivered with seamless line from Kesselman and lyrical rejoinders from Luevano and Koga. all we are given we cannot hold is one of the finest song cycles I have heard this year.”

Gramophone

Review of all we are given we cannot hold: “The soprano in both cycles is Lindsay Kesselman, whose shimmering timbre, emotional acuity and ability to render words clear in every register can only be termed mesmerising. Her collaborators – the Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble in Shell and Wing and the Haven Trio, of which Kesselman is a member, in all we are given we cannot hold – play on equally alluring levels.”

Textura

Review of all we are given we cannot hold: “The recording’s other vocal setting, all we are given we cannot hold (2022), was also written by the pair for Kesselman, though specifically for the trio, HAVEN, featuring her, clarinetist Kimberly Cole, and pianist Midori Koga. […] A plaintive tone is reinstated with the advent of the poetic seven-part title work, though this time the instrumental design is sparer than in Shell and Wing when Kesselman’s accompanied by Cole’s clarinet and Koga’s piano only. […]

 

All We Are Given We Cannot Hold presents a terrific sampling of Biedenbender’s work and Kesselman’s exceptional vocal artistry.”

International Clarinet Association 

“Haven Trio’s performance was flawless. The trio took listeners on a journey of powerful emotions. The trio performed Make Me a Willow Cabin by Lee Kesselman and Nattsanger by Abbie Betinis.  Clarinetist Kimberly Cole Luevano has complete control of the tone colors she produces. Her dynamic limits, both soft and loud, are almost unimaginable. Her technical skills are vast but are always in service of the work’s expression. Soprano Lindsay Kesselman’s range and ability to create countless timbral variation is unmatched. Pianist Midori Koga also has complete control of her medium. She has the unique ability to change moods and aesthetics within a piece in a way that seems effortless. Together, these three musicians paint pictures as much as create music. One cannot imagine an emotion they did not express through their performance, leaving the audience breathless.”

The Whole Note

“The combination of soprano, clarinet and piano is a most attractive one. The vaulting soundscapes give an urgent depiction of the human drama as it unfolds: an archetypal battle of man vs nature; the coalescence of spoken word (in a kind of reportage style); singing and instrumental interjection bringing home the significance of human loss, set against a backdrop of geological insignificance: “for the earth, it was just a twinge.” The results are poignant as they are rare, particularly in a world awash with conservative recordings of traditional works.”

Sequenza 21

“Fleur de Son’s recently released ‘Bright Angel’ is an album that does right by new music in this country. It champions important composers….through amazingly performed works that are strong and indicative of contemporary styles without sacrificing their reverence for tradition. ‘Bright Angel’ features three of today’s most fabulously gifted interpreters of contemporary music…their performances are exquisite as is their ensemble chemistry.”

Fanfare Magazine

“Clarinetist Kimberly Cole Luevano is a most skillful artist who answers Etezady’s call to virtuosity with perfect runs while pianist Midori Koga accompanies her with clear and accurate pianism….(Kesselman) has a fully-loaded palette of tone color that she blends with the exquisite playing of Cole Luevano. (She) and Midori Koga play all of the music on this Fleur de Son disc with exquisite tone colors….(Kesselman’s) singing is simply gorgeous.”

Naxos Deutschland

“Luevano erweist sich als sichere Interpretin, die ihrem Instrument sowohl eine breite Farbpalette als auch große dynamische Bandbreite entlockt. Ihr Spiel ist spannungsvoll. und die Pianist Midori Koga weiß dies bestens zu unterstützen. ohne dabei in die Rolle des reinen Begleitens zu fallen.  Ihre Interpretationen sind kraftvoll und glänzendurch hervorragende Motivarbeit.”

 

Translation:

Luevano proves herself to be an assured interpreter who elicits both a wide range of colors as well as large dynamic range from her instrument. Her playing is exciting, and the pianist Midori Koga knows how best to support this without falling into the role of mere accompaniment.  Their interpretations are vibrant, vigorous and shine through superb motivic work.

American Record Guide

Review of Bright Angel: “Luevano has great energy, a pleasant tone, and solid fingers. Koga is solid at the keyboard, granting each score the essential character and rhythmic integrity. Kesselman steals the show in the Betinis with exceptional color and clarity, superb diction, and profoundly heartfelt phrasing; her command of both traditional lyricism and Sprechstimme is breathtaking. Betinis is a beautiful work in its own right, full of expert craft and deeply stirring sentiment, and clarinetists and vocalists alike need to check out this important contribution to their repertoire.”

American Record Guide

Review of Atonement: “Kesselman is captivating in her selections, rendering them with her gorgeous voice, crisp diction, and a compelling tragic character… vivid and haunting.  Luevano… crafts a nice pianissimo line… has excellent fingers and plays the growls, squeals, and smears in the Chambers with great zest.  Koga is terrific at the keyboard, filling her parts with superb touch, technique, and color.”

The Clarinet

Review of Bright Angel“Luevano’s playing is perfectly suited to this repertoire.  Her tone is clear, focused and flexible, producing both warmth and grit as appropriate, and her technique sparkles.  Koga draws from the piano a range of colors and styles so wide that one can hardly imagine it to be a single instrument, and Kesselman, who describes herself as a “new music soprano” brings the Norwegian text to life so convincingly that even those who do not speak Norwegian can almost understand the meaning… By any objective standard, this disc is a brilliant production at all levels.”

Hawai’i Public Radio

“Hawaiʻi Public Radio was honored to present the Honolulu premiere of Twinge in our Atherton Performing Arts Studio on January 21, 2017. This new music concert had all the elements we look to bring HPRʻs discerning audiences: the celebration of a creative work by a Hawaiʻi resident (the composer Jon Magnussen), inspiration from artists from beyond our shores (the Haven Trio), quality storytelling and social relevance (from the source material by Barry Bearak for the NY Times Magazine on the 2004 Indonesian tsunami). I found the performance deeply moving as well as technically thrilling, and others in the audience were evidently equally engaged, as the majority of them remained for the post-performance discussion with the composer, performers, and author.”

Libby Larsen

“Congratulations on the whole disc. It’s a knock-out.”.

Joan Tower

“Wonderful playing….so much passion!”

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