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Mode Records October 2010 releases

full details at: http://www.moderecords.com/new_releases.html


Margaret LENG TAN: "She Herself Alone – The Art of the Toy Piano" CAGE; CRUMB etc CD Mode 221

Aldo CLEMENTI: Works with Flutes - Roberto Fabricciani, flutes & Alvise Vidolin, electronics Mode 224

Stefano SCODANIBBIO; Oltracuidansa for contrabass and 8-channel tape Mode 225

This American company is one of the most influential in the world for keeping before us extreme developments in contemporary "serious" music. The present batch was maybe a little daunting in prospect, but has proved delightfully rewarding, not always predictably so.

Xenakis sounded pretty safe, so famous and established is his reputation, and we'd enjoyed a lot of his music over the years and as recently as last year. Yet, now, this disc found us alienated from his type of modernism, and we didn't stay the course, well recorded and prepared though it is, and one for Xenakis fans to seek out; maybe it'd be more persuasive in the DVD version?

Leng Tan's exploration of the toy piano is an absolute delight, charming miniatures backed by rigorous, indeed fanatical scholarship from the world authority - see our review of her playing avant-garde Chinese music . This will be the ideal Chrismas present for a musical child in a receptive family; but wait for the DVD version, soon available.

Until now I have been daunted by the music of the veteran Italian composer, Aldo Clementi, but this compendium of music for flutes, solo, multiple and with tape, with the great Roberto Fabricciani is haunting and compelling. It brought back to mind one of my favourite records, acquired in Luxembourg at the ISCM festival 2000; Doina Rotaru's The Magic Flutes [DRCD-1001 UCMR-ADA 7717012], with Pierre-Yves Artaud and the combined French & Netherlands flutes orchestras; Rotaru, Clementi, Fabricciani & Artaud must surely all know each other?

Stefano Scodanibbio, virtuoso Italian bassist, offers a haunting meditation on the possibilities (apart from playing ordinary notes) of the double bass, for "effects" researched, catalogued over 20 years, then selected, used "polyphonically" and edited in a dialogue with tape. A single track of 58 mins, it really should have been provided with markers for listeners who can't take it straight through or want to return to savour particular sections.

Peter Grahame Woolf