Metamorphoses – Trios for Clarinet, Viola & Piano

Key Information

  • Composers: Robert Schumann; Leo Smit; W. A. Mozart; Jean Françaix
  • Title: Metamorphoses – Trios for Clarinet, Viola & Piano
  • Artist: Metamorphoses – Jean Johnson (clarinet); Roeland Jagers (viola); Ilona Timchenko (piano)
  • Catalogue No.: MMC122
  • Bar Code: 5065001668227
  • Release Date: 6th April 2018
  • UK Distribution: Discovery
  • Format: Single CD/Standard Jewel Case
  • CD Mail Order Price: £13.95 (inc. VAT and p&p)


Robert Schumann: “Four Fairy Tales” opus 132; Leo Smit: Trio for Clarinet, Viola & Piano; W. A. Mozart: “Kegelstatt” Trio kv498; Jean Françaix: Trio for Clarinet, Viola & Piano

Artist Information

Metamorphoses is a new ensemble of world class musicians who have established themselves individually as soloists and chamber musicians in the world’s most prestigious concert halls.

Their debut CD, is a cross-pollination of a wide range of sounds, colours and music styles – just as the group itself is an exchange between musicians from three different countries and cultures.

American-born clarinettist Jean Johnson is an international chamber musician and has played in some of the world’s fi nest venues, notably the Concertgebouw, Carnegie Hall, and the Palais des Beaux-Arts. She has performed concertos in Singapore, China, and in the UK, and her musical partnership with pianist Steven Osborne has received enthusiastic critical acclaim. Notable chamber music festivals include Mostly Mozart Festival at Lincoln Center New York, Spannungen (Germany), Bath Music Festival (UK), and Hindsgavl Festival (Denmark). Her teachers include Michael Sussman, Theodore Oien, Eli Eban and Alfred Prinz. She began her career with the Singapore Symphony and remains sought after as a guest principal.

Violist Roeland Jagers is a passionate chamber musician and was a founding member of the Rubens Quartet, laureate of several international competitions. The quartet enjoyed an active international career for sixteen seasons in Europe, the US, and Israel. Mr Jagers performs regularly in concert halls such as the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, the Tonhalle Zürich, the Konzerthaus in Vienna and the Philharmonie in Berlin. He also appears as a guest in international festivals such as Schleswig Holstein (Germany), Larzac (France), Kuhmo (Finland), Sitka Music Festival and Indiana University Festival of the Arts (US). His teachers include Ferdinand Erblich, Vladimir Mendelssohn and Eberhard Feltz.

llona Timchenko has won over twenty international prizes. Her fi rst CD on Landor was selected for one of the inaugural ‘Outstanding’ accolades in International Record Review, as well as highly acclaimed in Gramophone magazine. Timchenko became the fi rst to perform the complete 24 Preludes and Fugues of Shostakovich in concert in Italy, as well as new music of many contemporary composers, including some dedicated to her. She has appeared in recital at Wigmore Hall, Philips Hall in Holland, the Vienna Musikverein, Amsterdam Concertgebouw, the Great Hall of Moscow Conservatory, and is Artistic Director of Peregrinos Musicales Festival. Her teachers include Elena Richter, Alexander Gold, Rian de Waal, Lazar Berman.

Project Information

Music is perhaps the most expressive and moving of all art forms. Like other art, music is essentially about life: about joy and sadness, love and grief, hope and despair. To musicians, the genre of chamber music adds the element of conversation. They blend the voices of their instruments in a meaningful dialogue, an ever-dynamic exchange of ideas and emotions.

The ancient poet Ovid created his most famous masterpiece, Metamorphoses, as a series of mythical fairy tales, in which transformation is the binding factor. As musicians from three different parts of the world, playing instruments which seem to have more differences than similarities, this trio, too, find inspiration in transformation – the process of coming together. Being musical chameleons, they constantly adjust shapes, colours, and appearances, yet essentially are telling the same colourful story.

Robert Schumann (1810 – 1856) composed four Fairy Tales for clarinet, viola and piano, opus 132, pieces so rich and versatile that no other title would do. Imagine a dream landscape with the most divergent of fantastic characters interacting – often changing moods abruptly or playing grotesque exaggerations of themselves. This capricious, wondrous and extremely colourful realm is Schumann’s home, and the Fairy Tales are some of our favourite musical stories.

The music of Dutch composer Leo Smit (1900 – 1943) speaks in a very unique way. His Trio portrays all three voices in a challenging yet highly expressive style. The composer tells this enchanting story in one uninterrupted musical structure, while managing to unite his own background as a Dutch Jew with influences from the years he spent in Paris – the sounds of Ravel and Stravinsky are never far away. Sadly, Smit was murdered in Sobibór in 1943, only 42 years old.

Mozart’s (1756 – 1791) Kegelstatt Trio, the first piece ever composed for this particular formation, was also the first work Metamorphoses studied and performed together. The key signature of E-flat major, in Mozart’s later works often symbolising close friendship, underlines the joy and playfulness which the score exudes. One can easily imagine the composer himself playing the viola part during the premiere in Vienna.

The Trio by Jean Françaix (1912 – 1997), closes this disc. The piece is highly virtuosic, and each instrument has its chance to exude brilliance and originality. Though written in a neoclassical style, it displays the full range of French musical flavour. Colourful and expressive, the Trio almost has the qualities of a silent movie: one could imagine meandering through the Christmas markets of the Champs Elysees, to the circus, to the lavender fields of Provence as the music guides the listener from excitement to poetic nostalgia. The Trio is written in five contrasting, thematically-linked movements.

For three cosmopolitan musicians who call five different countries home, what would be more appropriate than to choose repertoire from five different countries for this album? Their musical greed came at a price though; as they exceeded the maximum running time for the CD, which is why the beautiful duo by Rebecca Clarke is made only available as a bonus track that can be accessed via