JEAN-LUC DARBELLAY (b.1946): Requiem for Soloists, Choir and Orchestra, Oyama for Large Orchestra, a quattro for Horn Quartet and Orchestra, Azur for Horn Quartet, Shadows for 5 Percussionists, Sozusagen for Oboe, Viola, Bassoon and Guitar, Chant d'adieux for Violin and Viola.
Catalogue Number: 09M101
Description: This comprehensive composer portrait begins with the impressive orchestral essay Oyama - the title is the name of a Japanese volcano - a work of appropriately volcanic disposition, with a central section of unearthly calm, like a view of the mountain from an extreme distance. Darbellay builds his magma-flows of sonority from rapid-running imitative gestures throughout the entire orchestra, punctuated by percussion and accompanied by the pyroclastic flow of dense clusters in the strings and high winds. A similar feeling for dense, varied sonorous texture is also apparent in the works for smaller ensembles; the horn quartet builds clusters by adding layers of intervals before disintegrating aleatorically; symbolically, the piece has 9/11 associations. Darbellay followed this piece immediately with the work for the same soloists with orchestra, which takes the Tuba mirum associations of the baying horns further, prefiguring the 2005 Requiem. The coloristic potential of two very different ensembles - percussion in Shadows and an heterogeneous group of four instruments in Sozusagen, after an enigmatic abstract work by Paul Klee - are amply explored in contrasting, equally effective ways. The Requiem, which takes up the whole of the second disc, suggests the larger, timeless and cosmic associations of death in dark-hued textures and mysterious suspensions of time. The orchestration is unusual, with a concentration of bass instruments and percussion; the choral contribution extends between inchoate whispering and muttering and chant-like or chorale-textured solemnity in stately harmony. From mysterious beginnings the work erupts in the sections of the Dies irae, recalling similar passages in the earlier orchestral pieces, eventually climaxing at the intensely dissonant opening of the Confutatis maledictis, then subsiding into lament before ascending toward redemption and a glimpse of eternity at the final sections of the work. 2 CDs. Julie Kaufmann (soprano), Iris Vermillon (alto), Christoph Genz (tenor), Markus Marquardt (baritone), MDR Radio Choir and Symphony Orchestra; Fabio Luisi, Leipzig Horn Quartet, Leipzig Percussion Ensemble, Ensemble Sortisatio.