BRICE PAUSET (b.1965): Der Geograph (Symphonie IV) for Large Orchestra with Principal Piano, Concert I (Birwa) for Harpsichord and Ensemble, Dornröschen for String Quartet, 2 Choirs and Large Orchestra, Les Voix humaines for Clarinet, Piano and String Trio.
Catalogue Number: 11S075
Reference: AECD 1652
Description: Pauset's idiom encompasses spectralism, extended instrumental techniques, electronics (though not in the pieces here) and a good deal of complexity in texture and execution. He appears to enjoy confounding the expectation of explanation in his program notes, which are, at least in English, unhelpful. The twenty minute Symphony, in seven sections played continuously, explores ideas of the confrontation of reality and its cartographic representation, with an extravagantly virtuosic piano part as mediating protagonist. 'Human Voices', which contains no vocal part, consists of gestures from ensembles within the ensemble, concentrating on extended techniques and noise textures, separated by long pauses. The harpsichord concerto takes its title from the birthplace of the Palestinian poet Mahmoud Derwish, and the composer makes references to lines from the beginning of one of his poems of exile. The fragile but poetically eloquent solo instrument enters into dialogue with layers of orchestral texture, which threaten to overwhelm it at times. 'Sleeping Beauty' consists of nine sections with titles that denote key events in the Brothers Grimm story. The work forms a kind of opera, with some clearly representational programmatic sounds, but the work is a very free deconstruction of the underlying idea, and may not be intended entirely seriously in the way Kagel sometimes approached his material. It does contain many moments of striking sonority, though. Nicolas Hodges (piano), Brice Pauset (harpsichord), ensemble recherche, Arditti String Quartet, Cologne Radio Choir and Symphony Orchestra; Emilio Pomàrico, Matthias Pintscher.