Trios for Deep Voices
Roberts’ inspiration for these trios is his immersion in New Guinean
traditional music, though his own pieces sound nothing like New Guinean
music. They are recognizably contemporary American classical music. “Kon
Burunemo” could be an updated version of Dvorak’s American quartet.
“Flying” conveys the effort and the exultation of the act itself. The
other three tracks come off as rather too severe for me. They don’t have
the almost homespun and naïve charm of the two works above. Advocates of
mainstream American classical modernism will be more receptive to these.
Roberts has a strong individual voice. If he repeats the idiosyncrasies
of those pieces in the future he’ll be a composer to reckon with.