CD Review: Most Wonderful Time
In 2013 the Trio released a new holiday CD, Most Wonderful Time, featuring the arrangements of pianist Mike Garson. Following are four mp3 excerpts from the CD:
LISTEN TO Avinu Malkeinu mp3 sound clip
[Traditional, arranged by Mike Garson.] This is one of the most famous Jewish prayers recited and sung during all high services, including Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, and Hannukah. Each verse begins with: “Avinu Malkeinu” (“Our Father, Our King”) from the book of Isaiah, and is followed by up to 54 phrases, mostly supplicatory, including “Inscribe us,” “Seal us,” “Bless us,” “Renew us,” “Remember us,” and “Inscribe us in the book.”
LISTEN TO Away in a Manger mp3 sound clip
[Written by James R. Murray, arranged by Mike Garson.] First published in Philadelphia in 1885 in Murray’s book Dainty songs for Lads and Lasses, the song quickly became one of the most popular carols in the U.S. and Britain. Interestingly, the first half of the melody is identical to a waltz (OP. 325) written by Johann Strauss. Although often attributed to Martin Luther, the carol does not appear in any of Luther’s writings.
LISTEN TO Jingle Bells mp3 sound clip
[Written by James Lord Pierpont, arranged by Mike Garson.] Published under the title “One Horse Open Sleigh” in the autumn of 1857, “Jingle Bells,” although known as one of the most popular Christmas songs ever, was written as a Thanksgiving song. Pierpont wrote the song in 1850 at 19 Medford Square in Medford, Massachusetts, in the Simpson Tavern. The song is inspired by the town’s popular 19th century sleigh races.
LISTEN TO Silent Night mp3 sound clip
[German: “Stille Nacht, Heilige Nacht.” Music by Franz Grüber, lyrics by Joseph Mohr, arranged by Mike Garson.] Composed in the small village town Oberndorf bei Saltzburg, Austria, the song was first performed on Christmas Eve, 1818, at the St. Nicholas parish in Oberndorf. Gruber was schoolmaster and organist at a nearby village called Arnsdorf; Mohr was a young priest in Oberndorf.
BUY the CD HERE.
READ review by Audiophile Audition web magazine
READ review and interview by Fanfare Magazine
Most Wonderful Time is not your usual recording of holiday music. First of all, the arrangement of each piece is a thoughtfully planned trio in an appropriate style. Secondly, the virtuosi of the Eaken Trio play each selection with flawless precision and a great deal of panache. Thus, the disc is programmed so that the beginning of each piece heralds the approach of something new and pleasing to the ear. The result is a fascinating journey through seasonal offerings, most of which are familiar but are heard here in new and different settings.”
CD Review: Eaken Trio + 1
READ review by the San Francisco Sentinel
“This recently released  CD by the Eaken Piano Trio and guest violist Joseph Esmilla glows with passion and musical excellence. The recording features Robert Schumann’s ‘Quartet in E-flat Major, Op. 47,’ and Johannes Brahms’ ‘Quartet in G minor, Op 25.’ The Grammy-nominated artists of the Eaken Trio—violinist John Eaken, cellist Andrew Rammon, and pianist Gloria Whitney—reach new and brilliant heights in this fine recording engineered by Timothy Breon.” [more]
“…with depth and beauty; performances don't get any better than this.” —The Burlington Free Press
“An eminent ensemble… a rare treat.” —De Stem, The Netherlands
“The trio's mastery of alternating volume from loud to soft can find you at times holding your breath, while at other times, it can take your breath away. There is buoyant and flowing quality to the trio's music-making.” —Harrisburg Patriot-News
“…the music was often irrestible… with each sweep of the bow and the pianist's sparkling passagework and nuance… stylistically they were as one… timbrally ravishing.” —The Philadelphia Inquirer
“The quality of your trio is superb, both individually and collectively. I would be very inspired indeed to write a piece for such a refined ensemble… I have not heard a piano trio like this one in a very long time.”
“The Eaken Trio gave an exciting yet friendly performance [at Carnegie Hall], one that invited the listener into their intimate world of music making.” —Strings Magazine
“The Naxos CD of the Shuller, Shifrin and Shipiro Trios shows the Eaken Trio to be a very talented ensemble, well at home with the varied demands of the music… This disc is practically demanding to be taken home by everyone reading this review. Heed its call.” —Fanfare Magazine