Home | Reviews | Articles | Festivals | Competitions | Other | Contact Us

Sannicandro/ Mundry/ Schlunz / Schwartz/ Reiserer / Furrer / Riedl
Dialogues - Music for flute & percussion

Carine Levine & Stefan Blum

Musicaphon/Radio Bremen M 55715

This is a fascinating CD, mostly of pieces specially composed for this duo in recent years, or arranged for them (Annette Schlunz's originally for recorder & percussion, 1991). The only name previously know to me was Beat Furrer, whose music has been heard occasionally in London. Each composer gives a commentary, and many of them are not that good with words for the ordinary music lover reader...

Valerio Sannicandro's are the most complicated and opaque, but he sets the tone for the whole compiation with music which seeks to be 'extremely fluctuating and changing - modulating and transforming sound', and I am pleased to report that we have two more CDs of his intriguing music to review.

You will sense few bar-lines in all this music recorded by Radio Bremen in 2005. Neither will you often have to cope with a flute screaming shrilly in its higher reaches, nor with deafening percussion. The general mood is reflective, delighting in timbre, and full of pauses and silence.

We found it delightful, taken as a whole. The composers each deserve notice, and maybe we'll have a second review of it. For now, I would mention that Christoph Reiserer has flute and vibraphone tending to become indistinguishable from one another, the music re-orchestrated with electronics towards the end; Laurie Schwartz incorporates teasing truncated spoken phrases recorded by an actress, and Beat Furrer has words by Mayrocker, the flute seeking 'to approximate the poet's language', combining to a single unity. All fascinating stuff, superbly recorded; do try it.

Peter Grahame Woolf

James Tenney
Melody, Ergodicity and Indeterminacy

Jos Zwaanenburg, flute
John Anderson, clarinet
Frank Denyer and Nora Mulder, pianos

Barton Workshop
James Fulkerson & Frank Denyer, directors

Mode Records - 185

The flute figures importantly in another CD received in the same week; if you have enjoyed Debussy's Syrinx and Varese's Density 21.5 you will respond to extensive solos for flute and clarinet by James Tenney (1934-2006) which, in this portrait recording created in Amsterdam early this year, are offset with some concerted pieces and interludes of early computer music - "the first composer to develop an aesthetic for computer music, realizing that electronic music almost forced the composer to accept noise as 'music' ".

He was a theoretician of distinction in esoteric musical fields and the somehat impenetrable notes by trombonist James Fulkerson of the Barton Workshop discuss his 'ergodocity' and indeterminacy. Whatever, this music all held my attention gladly, and the compilation is nicely varied with involvement of strings, winds and baritone voice, together with a fourteen minute piano duo played by Frank Denyer and Nora Mulder.

Again, we hope to have a more informed review when time allows, but this is one for explorers to catch, and most of the music is very accessible; far more so than its description...

Peter Grahame Woolf