Chaya Czernowin: Shu Hai Practices Javelin
Six miniatures and a simultaneous song (1998)
Music to texts by Zohar Eitan
Ute Wassermann, voice (live and recorded)
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".