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Madeleine Isaksson

Chamber music

Phono Suecia PSCD 134

MADELEINE ISAKSSON (b. 1956, Stockholm) is another Swedish original (they figure disproportionately since we went to the Stockholm Festival of New Music in February).

Her music is hard to describe but, for us anyway, something special and easy to enjoy, if risky to recommend without any opportunity to sample before purchase.

Without any doubt this is a unique CD; who else has thought to compose a trio for recorder, trombone and cello?

She has lived in France since 1988 and cites a number of composer influences picked up on her studies and travels, including Sandström, Nuñes, Ferneyhough, Feldman and Scelsi, together with the visual arts and literature - and "life".

She is interested in the relationships within ensembles and each voice finds itself in 'intimate, counterpointal contact with others'. Lower instruments are favoured and her quiet, unassertive voice certainly relates to Scelsi (at last getting wider exposure in this his centenary year) and to Feldman, though her sound world is different from either's. There is an apparent flexibility, underpinned by unobtrusive control; 'minutely composed but less calculated'.

If you find it in a record shop, I'd recommend listening to Andelek - the most intimate and lyrical saxophone quartet you're ever likely to encounter - and the very beautiful final track of A svavre for 3 voices used instrumentally, viola and cello.

Distribution seems to be a problem. Gramophone gives http://www.mic.stim.com/ but this seems unavailable on the web?

© Peter Grahame Woolf