STEFFEN SCHLEIERMACHER (b.1960): Taches - Hommage à Hans Hartung, Schwankendes Gleichgewicht - Hommage à Paul Klee, Klang-Raum-Modulator - Hommage à László Moholy-Nagy, Klangketten - Hommage à Alexander Calder, Aquarell - Hommage à Emil Nolde, Porträt mit Saxophon - Hommage à Max Beckmann, Treppentänzer - Hommage à Oskar Schlemmer, Feuerwind - Hommage à Paul Klee, Handel/Schleiermacher: Passacaille.
Catalogue Number: 02T069
Reference: 613 2005-2
Description: These pieces are homages to various twentieth-century artists or artistic movements - frequently a source of inspiration for Schleiermacher the composer. The artists are very different, with a common thread of abstraction of one kind or another, so unsurprisingly (particularly in view of the kinds of music with which Schleiermacher the pianist is commonly associated) there are no romantic evocations of representational landscapes or figures here, and even the works inspired by the two painters who used figurative elements - Nolde and Beckmann - concentrate more on their forms (loose and active for Nolde; stiflingly crowded and nightmarish for Beckmann) and flares of color than the actual subject matter of the paintings. The varied timbres and musical forms that the composer uses to suggest the geometries,shapes and implied action of this wide variety of works are highly effective and appropriate to their subjects. The Calder piece, for instance, coolly rotates and moves in endless permutations of a limited range of motion, just like the mobiles themselves. Three of the pieces are for Phonola, a piano player mechanism contemporaneous with early modern art movements in the 20th century, which in this case refers to the push-up piano player, an external device which can play any existing piano by means of wooden 'fingers', one for each key. As is usually the case with music written expressly for mechanical reproducing devices, Schleiermacher makes the most of the instrument's ability to play rhythms and textures unattainable by even multiple human pianists. By way of an encore the disc includes Schleiermacher's riotous transcription of Handel's g minor Passacaglia for this instrument. Ensemble Avantgarde, sonic.art Saxophone Quartet, Wolfgang Heisig (phonola).