THOMAS WALLY (b.1981): Caprice, Les îles des nombres III, Soliloquy II: You made your excuses and left, … jusqu’à l’aurore …: Caprice (IV) bleu, Transfigurations I-IV, Postscriptum (2x11x12): The Melancholy of Perfection(ism).

Catalogue Number: 07W069

Label: col legno

Reference: WWE 1CD 20448

Format: CD

Price: $19.98

Description: These pieces span a decade in the composer’s output, and vary considerably in intent and execution, while all (except one) encompass Wally's interest in experimenting with "microtonal scordatura, rhythmic complexity, virtuoso technique, peculiar forms" as he puts it, though he is unafraid of passages based on consonant intervals and even what might be snatches of melody. The Caprices use all these techniques and more, with very free treatment of material, which the composer relates to the spontaneity of his early (teenage) experiments in pop music (absolutely nothing of that idiom remains in the music). Textures change constantly, from complexicist torrents to sparer interactions between instruments, and rhythmically the music is highly unstable. The four Transfigurations are attractive shorter pieces, arguably more instantly accessible than the other works despite their use of extended intonations and techniques. A common factor is that they are anchored by repeating interval or chord gestures, more pronounced than in the longer works, in which repetition is present but more obscured by tumultuous activity. They were written as ‘interludes' between other works (and are used as such here), though they certainly contain enough musical interest to warrant a separate concert existence. The technically highly demanding work for violin solo sounds alternately angst-ridden and mournful, which may be related to its title, borrowed from a song by synthesizer-pop duo Pet Shop Boys (fl. 1980s - present), a moody, some might say mopey, ballad. Apart from some possible, far fetched, structural parallels, the music has absolutely nothing audibly in common. Wally is fond of popular culture references like this in his titles; the Caprice jusqu’ à l’aurore refers to Robert Rodriguez' crime caper/grindhouse vampire flick "From Dusk to Dawn", ostensibly because both the piece and the film suddenly transform into something else around half way through. The music's rather threatening aspect might also be related to the film, but no detailed correlation seems intended. The two works based on mathematical progressions represent a structured approach to material, unlike the deliberate freedom of the Caprices; Postscriptum (2 × 11 × 12): The Melancholy of Perfection(ism), for piano, is quite unlike anything else here; its texture is simple, consisting of every interval sounded on all twelve pitches, consecutively in various combinations in irregular rhythmic groupings. Despite their modernism, none of the pieces gives the impression of forbidding, ivory-tower avant-gardism - so perhaps this demonstrates the success of Wally's attempt to recapture the lively spontaneity of his early forays into pop music. Ivana Pristašová (violin), Thomas Wally (violin - Transfigurations), Petra Ackermann (viola), Karolina Öhman (cello), Tamriko Kordzaia (piano).

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