Ahn Off

On their third release, Ahn-Plugged, the Ahn Trio demonstrate an extraordinary wealth of talent. However, the album is marred by failed attempts to cross over to a larger pop audience.

The group — which includes the Ahn sisters, Lucia (piano), Angela (violin) and Maria (cello) — carves an often delirious path through a variety of classical styles. As demonstrated on their previous release of Dvorák and Shostakovich trios, the sisters exhibit a great sense of communication, while Lucia possesses a great touch with the piano. (Their talents recently won the group a prestigious ECHO Award in Germany.)

Highlights from Ahn-Plugged include the performance of the Leonard Bernstein Trio for Piano, Violin and Cello (RealAudio excerpt), which features a jazz-infused second movement. Two works of Argentinean composer Astor Piazzolla grace the album, the Oblivion of 1980 and the Primavera Porteña (RealAudio excerpt) of 1969, which gives a delightful spice to the collection.

Unfortunately, the album is peppered with excessive percussion. In fact, for a majority of the remaining selections, it seems as if drums were added indiscriminately, with little thought given as to why they should be there. This is most evident in The Diamond World of Eric Ewazen (RealAudio excerpt), which at times seems oddly reminiscent of jazz pianist Vince Guaraldi's "Charlie Brown" compositions. A cover of David Bowie's This Is Not America concludes this uneventful collection.