Although born a generation apart in different countries, the lives of the two composers represented here share a number of significant commonalities, and make for an imaginative and intriguing pairing.
Messiaen's quartet was premiered in the unlikely surrounds of Stalag VIII during the depths of winter, January 1941. Seventy years hence, his profound music has lost nothing of its effect. It remains a uniquely fresh, breathtaking, and, above all, astonishing work of art. Strongly influenced by Brahms 1891 Trio for the same instrumentation, Zemlinsky's Trio in D minor was composed in 1896 for a competition. To grasp the full extent of the music’s virtuosity requires, perhaps, concentrated listening, but even the casual listener will appreciate why Brahms recommended the work to his publisher, Fritz Simrock, whose eponymous company continues to publish it today.
Ensemble Liaison testify to the joy at the heart of chamber-music collaboration. The raison d’être of the ensemble is to showcase a diversity of musical partnerships and explore eclectic repertoire.