BEAT FURRER (b.1954): Piano Concerto (Nicolas Hodges [piano], Cologne Radio Symphony Orchestra; Peter Rundel), Invocation IV for Soprano and Bass Flute, FAMA VI for Voice and Contrabass Flute, (Petra Hoffmann [soprano], Isabelle Menke [voice], Eva Furrer [bass flute]), Spur for Piano and String Quartet, Retour an dich for Piano Trio (Kammerensemble Neue Musik Berlin), Lotófagos I for Soprano and Double Bass (Tora Augestad [soprano], Uli Fussenegger [double bass]).
Catalogue Number: 04K111
Description: The piano concerto, like much of Furrer's recent music, is a dynamically driven, rather disturbing yet exhilarating exhibition of raw emotion expressed through stylized mechanism - a kind of musical analogy of biomechanical art. The piano's motoric repeated gestures, hammered and glassy - are ingeniously amplified by the shadow-presence of a second piano in the ensemble, and the timbral amplification afforded by the large orchestra. The agitated scurrying of Spur, the strings providing percussive noise textures as a background to the piano's repeating patterns, is a close relative of the concerto. The music-theatre pieces, with soprano accompanied by low-register solo instruments contributing the widest range of alternative and extended timbres, are based on uneasy, disturbing ideas, and the emerging narrative of fear and breathless anticipation of disaster is heightened by the twitching mechanism of the (highly virtuosic) instrumental accompaniment. The early (1984) piano trio retour an dich begins with fragmented, shimmering shards of sound, which try to coagulate in the increasingly linear, clustered texture toward which the music tends as it progresses.