Jazz, folk, minimalism and Bach collide in the name of the environment

Tim Kliphuis Trio: The Five Elements

Tim Kliphuis Trio: The Five Elements

The Strad Issue: February 2021

Description: Jazz, folk, minimalism and Bach collide in the name of the environment

Musicians: Tim Kliphuis Trio and Ensemble

Works: The Five Elements; Threnody

Catalogue number: LOWLAND RECORDS

Dutch violinist Tim Kliphuis’s lockdown musical project is an environment-themed one. First, The Five Elements, whose five movements with accompanying texts depict exactly that, the usual Tim Kliphuis Trio line-up expanded to include additional strings and wind instrumentalists plus pianist, who themselves have melded into the core threesome with complete naturalness. An effortless blending of folk, jazz, classical and minimalism, these pieces stylistically shift on the flip of a coin, with the various trio members rising organically up through the textures to take solo spots. Air opens especially strikingly: ethereal, suspended string chords, soon joined by guitar ones underpinned by bass, the harmonies hinting of jazz, on to which comes a huskily lilting Celtic-style melody from Kliphuis.

Then Threnody, which may be the most intriguing piece for those more classically inclined. This is a delicately voiced, gossamer-weighted lament which takes Bach’s famous D minor Chaconne as its foundation, then injecting harmonies, textures, techniques and inflections drawn from folk and minimalism. Kliphuis’s silky, light-toned solo lines sometimes cleave close to the original, and at other times provide more of a variation on it.

If you’re planning a physical purchase, be aware that when the album runs at just 47 minutes long, you’re buying into an idea as much as getting some music. Either way, it’s music worth hearing.