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3d String Trio evokes international spirit; releases second CD

  • Richie Davis—3rd String Trio

  • Richie Davis—3rd String Trio



Recorder Staff
Wednesday, December 14, 2016

If you close our eyes while listening to “Al Fresco,” it doesn’t take much imagination to conjure up the Tuscan hills, the countryside of Abruzzo and other images of rustic Italy.

The second CD from this group of excellent Pioneer Valley musicians once again evokes the simple pleasures of old-world continental charm that’s so relaxing, it could provide the perfect background for your next romantic Italian dinner. In fact, the trio has gained a loyal following for its performances at Hadley’s Esselon Cafe for just that reason.

The CD, available on the trio’s website, www.3rdstringtrio.com , is aptly subtitled “Old World Cafe Music,”  like 3rd String’s equally charming “Sous le Ciel de Paris.”  It’s equally an essential part of candlelit bistro fare, just as sure as that glass of lambrusco or that capuccino with biscotti. 

The 14 songs finely interpreted by mandolin player Aldo Fabrizi  of Amherst, accordionist Karen Axelrod of Northampton and guitarist Kate Barnes of Greenfield are gentle and paint scenes so vivid you can almost smell the herbal and floral essence of the countryside wafting by.

This is fine ensemble playing from three musicians with varied backgrounds, though much of the inspiration comes from Fabrizi, who remembers Sunday afternoon dinners while growing up outside Boston with his  parents, who’d immigrated from San Donato, the little Lazio village on the edge of the Abruzzi national park.

“My grandparents would come over, my grandfather would grab a guitar, my father would grab a guitar and they’d play some tunes they knew as kids, folk tunes,” Fabrizi told us a couple of years ago.

While songs like the Italian mazurka “Te Veglia e Sonno” (Between Waking and Sleeping) originate as timeless, haunting themes that suggest Italy, there are also songs from Spanish Galicia, from France and Uruguay, from Argentina and Cuba, there are also English country dance tunes, a waltz surprisingly by Russian composer Dmitri Shostakovich and even an original “My Valley Waltz” by Barnes.  

This is listening music, not necessarily lively dance music — though it’s not hard to imagine waltzing around the living room with that certain someone. The Argeninian “Romance de Barrio” is, for me, a favorite. But then, so are tunes like the Cuban “Veinte Anos,”   the French “Estrellas” and so many others.

All fit together impeccably on this heartwarming instrumental collection.