Here's what the critics said about the Verdehr Trio in 2007-08
Washington Post, November 18, 2008
"The Verdehr Trio has become a perennial favorite at the Phillips Collection, where twice a year it presents new works -- which it has usually commissioned -- for its unusual combination of clarinet, piano and violin."
La nacion, Buenos Aires, June 13, 2008
"MUSICAL MARVELS BY THREE
The Verdehr Trio from the US performed an unforgettable concert
Today the stupendous Verdehr Trio offered us the privilege of hearing
marvelous new music (with the exception of the well-known "Contrasts" by Bartok) whose existence we never suspected. It was a real "tour de force" realized in the most perfect synchronization between the violin of Verdehr, the clarinet of Ludewig-Verdehr and the piano of Roederer." (Rene Vargas Vera)
Washington Post, October 23, 2007
"The Michigan-based Verdehr Trio has been one of the most influential chamber groups in contemporary American music for three decades, commissioning more than 200 new works."
Washington Post, March 7, 2007
"When the time comes, the Verdehr Trio's legacy will be vast -- decades of wonderful performances and, probably more lasting, the commissioning of hundreds of pieces for a violin, clarinet and piano ensemble whose repertoire, until now, has been small. --- a brilliantly played program."
"Trio shows diverse skills, passionate expression." "The Trio's rhythmic unity, balanced harmony and passionate playing make a good metaphor for successful relationships."
Washington Post, October, 2005
"The Verdehr Trio is a first-rate chamber groups with a difference -- the three have been winning celebrity over 30 years for creating a new niche in world music, commissioning l70 plus works by an international bevy of composer. ...impeccably matched phrasing and contrasting tonal colors as clearly etched as Mozart's operatic characters."
Classical Source, England, November, 2005
"Throughout this eventful recital, the playing of the Verdehr Trio evinced both a commitment to the music at hand and an understanding of the medium only possible after years of devotion to its cause."
Music and Vision Magazine, England, November, 2005
"The Verdehr Trio is simply the most influential violin-clarinet-piano group in the world. It was greatly to the credit of the invariably enterprising Park Lane Group that this programme opened their fiftieth season. The pervasive influence of the Verdehr can be gauged by the fact that they have commissioned almost 200 works for their medium over the past thirty years -- a remarkable record of commitment to the living composer."
Cleveland Plain Dealer, October, 2001
"Throughout the concert, the Verdehr Trio played flawlessly, with the artistic alertness, sophistication and urgency that communicate the message of new music to even the most resistant of audiences."
Courier-Journal, Louisville, February 2003
"SERVING UP THE NEW WITH PLENTY OF FIRE"
"The Trio played with authority and interpretive zeal. Contemporary chamber music seldom has had it so good."
Columbia Star, South Carolina, November 13, 2000
"The Verdehr Trio, based at Michigan State University, has fashioned a performance medium that includes 18th and 19th century transcriptions as well as an impressive array of commissioned 20th century pieces. Their world premieres are noteworthy as they are intercontinental. The performers successfully conjured up the spirit of the northern Australian landscape (Sculthorpe Dreamtracks)and built up to a thrilling climax--they played with brilliance and virtuosity."
The Washington Post, February 2003
"Music for violin, clarinet and piano is not particularly abundant, but the group responsible for most of what we have, the Verdehr Trio, gave a sparkling demonstration of the medium's variety and color potential Sunday. The Trio played all this music as though it owned it--as, in fact, it does."
Washington Post, March 6, 2001
"A Trio made up of violin, clarinet and piano is a rather unorthodox team. But the Verdehr Trio, in residence at Michigan State University, has made it work by commissioning compositions specifically for the ensemble. On Sunday they returned to the Phillips Collection for an engrossing program
of music written for them since 1990. The Verdehr's commanding approach emphasized the work's (Gattermeyer-Vienna) all-embracing lyricism."
Washington Post, November 14, 2000
(Premiere of Jasper Drag by Alvin Singleton)
"Though the ink has hardly dried on the score-- Singleton completed the work just two months ago-- the trio gave a performance that was polished and hauntingly beautiful"
Prague, Czech Republic - Hubedni-Rozhledy, July 7, 2000
PRAGUE SPRING FESTIVAL MAY 19TH, VERDEHR TRIO
"The Verdehr Trio, already well-known in Prague, showed us again how naturally and convincingly it is possible to play even unknown new compositions. The evening opened with the Vanhal Trio, Op. 20, No. 5. Delicacy of touch and a natural ease of phrasing were the highlights of this performance. Elsa Ludewig-Verdehr was the main protagonist of this piece. The Max Bruch pieces were chosen from his late Eight Pieces for clarinet, violin (or viola) and piano. The performance surprised us with dreamy dynamics and an appealing freshness reminiscent of Schubert or Schumann. Dream Tracks by Sculthorpe was commissioned by the Trio and Michigan State University. This composition speaks to us as a special vision of the spirit of the Australian landscape and the performance created a beautiful, evocative atmosphere. Most interesting and original musical thoughts were presented in the piece by Ivan Kurtz (also written for the Trio)--playful, poetic with a minimal use of material-just three tones but developed brilliantly. Libby Larsen's Slang has many references to jazz and boogie--everything was playful and brilliant. The Verdehr Trio in this concert showed us that it is their specialty to play new music and there were so many wonderful lyrical and musical details in the performance."
Salt Lake Tribune, July l2, 2003
"Performing Williams Wallace's Double Concerto were Elsa Ludewig-Verdehr and her husband, Walter Verdehr. The melodically appealing and rhythmically interesting composition was an appropriate vehicle for the Verdehrs to showcase their musical prowess. Playful exchanges between violin and clarinet abounded as colorfully shaded phrases from the clarinet contrasted with the taut but striking sounds of the violin."
"For three decades the Verdehr Trio-violin, clarinet, piano-has been quietly racking up a list of commissions that must set a record of sorts: the number at present stands at no less than l50. The scope and variety of these scores was evident in the five works-just the tip of the iceberg-that the ensemble played at its 30th anniversary concert at Merkin Concert Hall on November 25, 2002-Ned Rorem, Robert Mann, Sebastian Currier, James Niblock and Bright Sheng. The Trio-Walter Verdehr, Elsa Ludewig-Verdehr, Silvia Roederer-played them all with an expansive spirit, complete commitment and a great deal of virtuosic skill."
American Record Guide, September/October 2002
"The Verdehr Trio plays beautifully on Crystal's newest releases, titled American Images I and II. Elsa Ludewig-Verdehr projects a silky, tender sound at all times on the clarinet, and Walter Verdehr sparkles on the violin. The pianists balance perfectly and the trio always blends well. There are no technical problems--the group is obviously very experienced--and they perform with much energy. Violinists, clarinetists and anyone interested in high-quality chamber music should definitely pick up these discs."
American Record Guide, November/December 200l
"The Verdehr Trio is brilliant in every department, and I can't praise them enough. Those who know Max Bruch's Eight Pieces will be completely satisfied with this violin-clarinet-piano version--played with a passion thast will lift you out of your seat!"
BBC Music Magazine, July 2003
"The Verdehr Trio approaches each work (Volume l4-Austrian Images--von Einem, Erod and David) with total commitment, delivering performances of impressive technical brilliance."
Fanfare, November/December, 2003
"The Verdehr Trio has been building up an impressive discography on the Crystal label. Volume l5 of that series boasts the virtues of worthy newly commisioned (by the Verdehr) scores performed with both grace and authority. The composers are far from household names, but given the Verdehrs' advocacy, they ought to be. This release contains three splendid double concertos for violin and clarinet and I found the performances by the Verdehr Duo and the two orchestras faultless. The Verdehr Duo's performances, as I have come to expect from auditioning several of their earlier releases, are technically secure, insightfully phrased, beautifully balanced, and alwasys revealing of the essence of the scores."
Fanfare, September/October, 2002
"The Verdehrs and their pianists are superbly accomplished musicians. Each disc (American Images I and II) presents a nicely balanced program: the old and the new, seriousness and fun, all in a satisfying variety of musical styles."
Fanfare, January/February, 2001
"The Verdehr Trio has earned an enviable reputation for championing new music, which they have commissioned, played, recorded and otherwise campaigned. This CD (Vol. 10) highlights the trio's strengths in technical and interpretive terms by showcasing three fine contemporary works--all three are significant contributions to the repertoire for this Trio and to the overall fabric of American music. The Verdehr Trio gives these new works wonderful performances, making this CD easy to recommend to all who care about contemporary music in our country--and to those seeking superior examples of chamber music in general from a distinguished domestic ensemble."
The Clarinet Magazine, March 2001
"The Verdehr Trio has evolved over the years into one of the most respected and well-known ensembles in the world today. This group has been a major force in the development of music written for this combination. They are in residence at Michigan State University. The ensemble and musicianship are truly outstanding. This CD would be a great addition to any clarinetist's collection. Beside the exceptional artistry and ensemble playing, the variety of repertoire make for an aesthetically well-balanced CD as a whole. "
Gramophone, December 2003
"Volume l5 (Double Concertos) of the Verdehr Trio's "Making of a Medium" series, music they have commissioned, continues to astound. The performances once again show Walter Verdehr to be a fine violinist with a big, rich tone that particularly comes into play in the Wallace Concerto, and Elsa Ludewig-Verdehr, a virtuoso with a wide range of tonal quality that includes Klezmer accents. If you love the combination of violin and clarinet and the idea of a beautiful, imaginative music in a conservative mould, this disc is a must. "
Gramophone, September 2002
"The Verdehr Trio, whose performances are authoritative in every sense of the word, are not only very convincing but seductively so. They are three outstanding instrumentalists working in close sympathy. Both Walter and Elsa Verdehr, in addition to possessing the traditional chamber music virtues of warmth and intimacy, play with the virtuosic flair of soloists. And Silvia Roederer, who recently joined the Trio, has a wonderful tone and sounds like she has been playing with the founding partners for a lifetime."
Strad, November 2002American Images I and II "The Making of a Medium" CD Series
"Here is a remarkable collection by a remarkable ensemble. Walter and Elsa Verdehr have commissioned numerous works from American composers, young and old, building up a library on which any similar chamber ensemble would be delighted to draw. The quality and range of the results is astonishingly high. "
"An unforgettable expedition through exotic and challenging works by an range of outstanding composers from around the world--from Turkey, China, Czech Republic, France and the US"
Cleveland, Ohio. The Plain Dealer
"Long committed to exploring the sonorities of the violin-clarinet-piano combination, the Verdehrs expand the edges of classical music while, at the same time, they erase the scary perception of new music as intimidating and unpleasant."
Knoxville, Tennessee. News-
" a sizzlingly virtuosic Trio"
"The Trio played with a combination of musicality, technical agility and spirit."
New York, NY. New York Times
"a technically and artistically-perceptive performance" "elegant performances of 18th and 19th century works."
Musical America Magazine
"The Verdehr Trio has won international acclaim for its virtuosity on its respective instruments and in this piece (Stanislaw Skrowaczewski Triple Concerto) the members have ample opportunity to demonstrate why they have risen to the tops of their field. The writing held challenges aplenty but the three musicians were undaunted."
Honolulu, Hawaii. The Advertiser
"Each work was performed with sensitive musicianship and refined technique. The players consistently achieved fine balance and cohesiveness of style and idea. No detail eluded them. No musical challenge was too great."
Cleveland, Ohio. The Plain Dealer
"Most unusual was the wonderfully ironic, wise-cracking stylethese particular instruments created together. Its rare thata chamber music concert seems as sly and witty as an evening of jazzor klezmer music but this group managed just that." (Kennedy Center)
Washington, D.C. The Post
"The three players conveyed an astute rhythmic sense and an air of erudite camaraderie."
Los Angeles Times
"It is quite an achievement to have reached the tenth disc in a series devoted to the combination of violin, clarinet and piano. It reflects admirably on the commitment of the ensemble, Crystal Records and Michigan State University (which commissioned three works on this disc) that this project has been able to come this far. The players commitment to the music is obvious; the performances here are strong"
American Record Guide
"masterful, poetic performance by the Trio"
Peoria, IL. Journal Star
"impeccable ensemble plus and engaging vitality, grace and disarming insouciance."
Buffalo, NY. The News
"a fascinating program consisting of arrangements of older works for the unusual instrumental combination as well as freshly commissioned pieces."
Toledo, OH. The Blade
"Each instrumentalist displays technical mastery and supreme musicianship. This well-matched Trio recalls the aristocratic approach of some of the great ensembles of the past, such as the legendary Heifetz-Piatagorski-Rubenstein Trio."
"The concert was really thrilling in its precision and attention to detail. Technical difficulties simply disappeared. Notably, tone and timbre were varied with artistic judgment and an evident understanding of the composer's wishes."
Sydney. Clarinet Scene
"Elsa Ludewig-Verdehr's clarinet is worth going a long way to hear--always perfectly controlled and distinctive in the most energetic passages and in soft ones endowed with a liquid transparency any wind player must envy."
"Violinist Walter Verdehr enjots a masterly technique that embraces a finely calculated bland plus power to take appropriate command at times."
"Pianist Gary Kirkpatrick is very fleet of finger and displays a wide spectrum of dynamics."
"The great new composition by Gian Carlo Menotti composed for the Verdehr Trio has stylistic elements of neoclassicism, impressionism and some stylistic idioms from popular music. It was given a shining, precise, virtuoso and perfect performance by the Verdehr Trio. The Trio by the Czech-American composer, Karel Husa, provided a great contrast in style. Instead of the melodic spontaneity, this music convinces by its use of interesting compositional techniques which were worked out to perfection."
"Their individual beauty of sound and delicacy of expression are parts of the perfect ensemble. What is so particulary striking about the group is the way each member so transcends technical demands that they vanish."
"The brilliance and charismatic flow of the Verdehr Trio's ensemble playing gives a vibrant introduction to this often neglected combination of violin, clarinet and piano...and astounding sense of collective musicianship."
"...brilliant technical abilities and complete musical versatility. All three illustrated their masterly control of their instruments and what a perfectly coordinated ensemble they are."
"...brilliant performance"..."warmly applauded by the public."
Strasbourg. Demieres Nouvelles d'Alsac. March 1987
"These three musicians have succeeded in uniting their instruments' sonorities and giving them a real cohesion. The violinist exhibits a subtle execution and brilliant sonority, the pianist adds color
and fulidity to the phrases and the clarinetist has a fine clear sonority
which often serves as a support to the group."
"Their program, because of the unique nature of the the works, was quite original, combining Classical music with works from the 20th century."
"The Trio impressed especially with the ease and fluidity of its playing, vibrant tonal quality and fine sense of dynamic shadings."
"...overwhelming, artistic interpretation of the Contrasts by Bartok..."
"Elsa Ludewig-Verdehr proved herself to be a totally outstanding clarintetist."
"Walter Verdehr showed such an impressive display of warm-blooded and supple virtouso violin playing!"
Ulm. Schwabische Zeitung
"...virtuostic and bursting with spirit."
"The American artists are equal partners, each one musically and technically on an internationally-elite artistic level of mastery."
Detmold. Lippische Landes-Zeitung
"What especially distinguished the Trio, aside from its fine tonal quality, were the delicate dynamic nuances, the precisely thought-out conceptions worked out to the last detail as well as the unbelievable animation and freedom of their music making."
"...ideal balance of virtousity and musicality."
Freiburg. Badische Zeitung
"This ensemble has been known for some time as interpreter of varied, well structured and virtuostically written music. Intense concentration ignited the performance... and incomparably detailed and singing Mozart--full of fantasy and with such tonal beauty."
"Magical Power of Modern Music."
"The Verdehr Trio lived up to its reputation as one of the best ensembles for contemporary music."
Marburg. Oberhessische Presse
"Brilliant Ideas With Exceptional and Masterful Virtousity."
"A stand-out concert with surpassingly interesting discoveries."
Hamburg. Ahrensburger Zeitung
"Schubert, Fantasie, Op. 103...Any concern regarding transcriptions were soon laid to rest. With passionate dedication the three instrumentalists took up the challenge remaining true to their powerful, full-blooded concept, always careful to bring the important musical elements into the foreground."
"...The artists overcame the most intricate passages with ease, thus resulting in a high level display of thchnical skill and artisty. These artists are individually excellent and make beautiful ensemble music together."
"Trio Verdehr favorably impressed the listeners by its very high degree of technical virtousity and consummate artistry. The Trio displayed fine ensemble playing while at the same time exhibited the significant personalitites of the interpreters. The ease in overcoming the most technical hurdles that this rich and interesting program demands made the playing memorable indeed."