Formed in 2006, Melbourne-based trio Ensemble Liaison comprises cellist Svetlana Bgosavljevic, clarinettist David Griffiths and pianist Timothy Young. The trio, which has previously recorded for Melba Records and Tall Poppies, is well-known for collaborating and partners to date have included Emma Matthews, Tony Gould and members of the Australian Ballet.
But every performance is a collaboration and such is the case here, where not only do we have arrangements of arrangements like this version of Grainger’s Blithe Bells – there are also more straightforward versions of songs originally written for voice and piano, where either the clarinet or the cello takes the voice part. Britten’s arrangement of The Salley Gardens or Falla’s Suite Populaire Espagnole are two examples – though the three instruments come together for the final Jota of the latter work. Elsewhere, first one instrument then another takes the melody – as in The Last Rose of Summer – or the cello, say, takes a more accompanying role – as in Gershwin’s The Man I Love.
But it’s the performances themselves which really stand out. One has only to hear Bgosavljevic’s impassioned reading of Ravel’s Kaddisch or Griffiths’ artful negotiations between the lyrical and the raucous in Kovács Sholem-alekhem, rov Feidman! or Young’s wonderful pianism in Piazzolla’s Oblivion to fully appreciate what a national treasure Ensemble Liaison has really become.