“Miscellaneous Music makes the whole package worth the price of admission with its way of thinking through the possibilities of the ensemble and with its sheer high spirits…Hsieh defines boundaries between the roles of the three disparate instruments, and then crosses them gleefully.”
“The imaginative Black Cedar delves into some fascinating contemporary pieces on this disc…giving each player many chances to shine individually, and also coming together seamlessly as a potent trio. It’s a marvelous blend of styles and textures.”
“While the instrumentation is unconventional, it is surprisingly effective…Black Cedar is particularly effective for the rhetoric of intimacy they establish. That intimacy is just as evident in the strategic command of understatement one encounters in the performances on this new album.”
A Path Less Trod is Black Cedar’s debut album, compiling contemporary and folk music. It includes Durwynne Hsieh’s Miscellaneous Music, commissioned by Black Cedar in 2015: The first – Möbius Movement – is named after the famous Möbius strip, a geometric construct that has only one surface. Introverted Interlude is a slow, musical portrait of an introvert. Five Fun Facts, is a collage that incorporates disparate elements for the sole purpose of having a good time, including a turkey taking a ride down the front of the cello. Is there a deeper meaning here? “Nah, just want to have fun,” says Durwynne.
Nathan Kolosko’s Hungarian Trio (2012) infuses classical structures into traditional folk tunes. Plus, Black Cedar’s 2014 commission, Of Emblems by Garrett Shatzer, and Klaus Hinrich Stahmer’s forgotten gem, Debussyana (1983). “Stahmer’s off-kilter approach to his source material suggested that this music had less to do with the faun and more with the nymph who had just spent the afternoon with him. We need more wit like this in the chamber music repertoire,” (San Francisco Examiner).