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Bruno Mantovani

La Sette Chiese
Eclair de Lune

Ensemble InterContemporain Ircam/Susanna Malkki

Kairos KAI 0012722

A Parisian composer we'v enjoyed over the years (q.v. Turbulences at Strasbourg "an enjoyable exercise in saturated romantic sound", & his bass clarinet concerto at Lucerne) Bruno Mantovani (b.1974) is distinguished by a super-sensitive ear which allows his complex creations a seductive surface quality.

La Sette Chiese is inspired by a church complex at Bologna; Streets captures the bustle of those in New York, and Eclair de Lune returns to his interest in electronics. The notes are extensive and impeccably translated by Joanna King; there are pages from each score to marvel at, one can take the performances under Susanna Malkki (doutless recorded with the composer's involvement) on trust, with the recording quality is of the highest.

As good a way into today's music of complexity as you'll find, a disc to relish and return to again and again.

Peter Grahame Woolf

[See our review of Mantovani's bass clarinet concerto at Lucerne and on CD ]



Matthias Pintscher

en sourdine (2002) Musik for Violine und Orchester
tenebrae (2000/01) Musik for skordierte Viola und kl. Ensemble mit Live-Elektronik
Reflections on Narcissus (2004/05) for violoncello and orchestra

Frank Peter Zimmermann violin
Christophe Desjardins viola
Truls Mork cello
Ensemble intercontemporain
NDR Sinfonieorchester
Matthias Pintscher conductor

Kairos 0012582KAI TT:78 mins

This composer (b.1971) has been featured in UK by the BBC and at South Bank Centre and hs been followed in his rapid ascent by Musical Pointers. Pintscher is not easy to write about, and regrettably the notes by Thomas Schafer are, for me, completely unhelpful. .

It is good to have the cello concerto Reflections on Narcissus on disc. I hesitate to persuade people unused to his distinctive way to go for it without hearing some of the music first. It tends to be rarified, sometimes to near vanishing point (see a page of en sourdine).

The three works are sort-of-contertos for violin, for viola with scordaturo tuning, and (by far the largest) the 40-mins cello concerto Reflections on Narcissus. Narcissus admired his own reflection, and you may feel that Pintscher is similarly indulgent?

Pintscher's music has been featured in London increasingly, and we have got to like his individual and compelling voice, especially for his subtleties of timbre, often very quiet, as reflected in the violin & orchestra piece's title here.

There is a problem; the notes writer for Kairos suggests approaching it as if waking out of a strange dream... And he continues for several closely packed pages saying it can't really be described...

Sadly, several reviews of his concerts in London (including the Reflections on Narcissus at the Barbican) have "gone missing" from MP; I am happy to quote instead from The Times review, which reflected our own feelings on the occasion: (Narcissus) sees himself, he falls in love, he dies, spends his afterlife condemned to repeat the experience over and over again.- - Pintscher's Reflections on Narcissus, which received its UK premiere with the BBC Symphony Orchestra under the baton of its composer, is about the most dramatic retelling of this episode that you could possibly imagine (Neil Fisher).

This cello symphony, one of Pintscher's largest works, sounds well on this recording, also with Truls Mork and the composer conducting.

Try also Kairos 0012052KAI. I guarantee 'something different'.

For readers who would like to pursue attempts to characterise this elusive but curiously gripping music I give a couple of links below.

Peter Grahame Woolf