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Chaya Czernowin: Shu Hai Practices Javelin

Six miniatures and a simultaneous song (1998)
Shu Hai in an orchestral setting (2000-01)
for voice, nine recorded versions of the same voice on tape, orchestra and live electronics
Shu Hai mitamen behatalat kidon (1996-97) for solo female voice, nine versions of the same voice on tape, and live electronics

Music to texts by Zohar Eitan

Ute Wassermann, voice (live and recorded)
ELISION ensemble
Basel Sinfonietta. Johannes Kalitzke, conductor
Live electronics: Experimental Studio of Heinrich Strobel Stiftung SWR.
André Richard, director

Mode Records 117

An inscrutable composer, it has to be confessed, is Chaya Czernowin (b.1957). "I don’t know what Czernowin’s music is about. Fascinating and joyously impenetrable, her compositions will leave you spellbound" (Grant Chu Covell).

Maybe the best way into these interlinked works is the last, for Ute Wassermann's solo voice; nine versions of it on tape and live electronics; nine poems which "cut, comment and illuminate each other".

Best leave words (you can find them on mode's website); the composer's own notes tantalize with their elusiveness, as does the fragmentary music itself - the material becomes "distilled to such extent that nothing can leave its mark - - vials of petrified emotions".

Do not leave Czernowin aside immediately though; to begin to appreciate the subtleties of this music, beautifully performed and recorded, treat yourself to to a free sample on line...

Peter Grahame Woolf

See also Musical Pointers' review of the DVD of Czernowin's opera, which we saw in Munich - "at our third viewing of Pnima...ins Innere its strange logic began to make sense".