GÉRARD GRISEY (1946-1998): Vortex Temporum for Flute, Clarinet, Piano and String Trio, FABIEN LÉVY (b.1968): Querwüchsig for Ensemble, Risâla fî-l-hob wa fî’lm al-handasa for Flute, Clarinet, Tenor Sax, Violin and Cello.

Catalogue Number: 01U054

Label: Stradivarius

Reference: STR 37111

Format: CD

Price: $16.98

Description: Lévy was a student of Grisey, whose music and self-effacing teaching style made a strong impression on him. Not so very much on his own music, though, to judge by these compositions. Querwüchsig is a made-up German word intended to carry multiple meanings connected to uncontrolled, undisciplined organic growth. The music is accordingly highly actives, with thematic cells tossed around within the ensemble according to principles derived, as the composer tells us, "in a technique inspired by the cross-rhythms of Central African polyphony which I have developed over the years and have applied to every musical parameter." The titles of the movements of "Small treatise on love and geometry" refer to techniques of ornamentation in Islamic art. The active first movement evokes intricate, elaborate patterning; the restrained, reflective second is a texture piece, it's title meaning "enameled, bejeweled, sequined", its spare but sonorous sounds falling somewhere between the æsthetics of Grisey and Feldman. Grisey's Vortex Temporum is a mature work, completed not long before the composer's untimely death, and it exemplifies many of the best characteristics of his music. The fluid expansion and compression of musical time is of primary importance, and the three sections exploit this idea in different ways. The organisation of sound according to 'spectral' principles also plays its part; Grisey had an unfailing ear for timbre and in non-electronic compositions like these (the spectral relationships worked out in advance but transformed into actual sounds by traditional instruments) this is somehow especially apparent. Some preparation of the instruments (quarter-tone tuning of some - not all - notes on the piano, for instance) and extended playing techniques are employed. With its constant temporal ebb and flow and elastic, constantly changing timbres, the work achieves a remarkable sense of forward motion. Prague Modern Ensemble; Pascal Gallois.

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