KAJIA SAARIAHO (b.1952): Notes on Light for Cello and Ensemble (Dirk Wietgeber [cello], Emilio Pomarico [conductor], JONATHAN HARVEY (1939-2012)): Sringāra Chaconne (Peter Rundel [conductor]), EMMANUEL NUNES (b.1941): Chessed I (Sian Edwards [conductor]) (all World Premiere Recordings), ENNO POPPE (b.1968): Scherben (Stefan Asbury [conductor]).
Catalogue Number: 09S069
Reference: WER 6862 2
Description: Harvey's piece is an especially fine example of his melding of Eastern mysticism and marvellously exotic sonorities. Sringāra is the 'essence' of erotic love as expressed in art, according to Indian tradition. The piece is built of a sequence of four gorgeous, glowing chords which anchor the piece, while the accompanying figuration becomes ever more luxuriant and ecstatic. Poppe's 'Shards' consists of 121 very short fragments 'arranged' in an 11 x 11 'grid' which determines the timbral and material relationships between them. Using these sonic 'molecules' the composer constructs structures of varying levels of activity, density and character, sometimes coalescing into unexpected chords, sometimes colliding chaotically, and sometimes separating into unexpectedly gentle, simple instrumental solos. Saariaho's 2006 cello concerto, in five movements lasting almost a half-hour, is explicitly concerned with the imagery of light that frequently pervades her work. The orchestration is translucent, the orchestra imaginatively divided into nuanced color-fields of chamber-like textures. The soloist's relationship with the ensemble evolves through the piece, from the opalescent transparency of the opening movement through the fiery dialogue of the second and the shimmering soundscapes of the third - 'awakening' - to be eclipsed by the orchestra in the fourth and to re-emerge from the shadows 'looking into the heart of light, the silence' as the lines from 'The Waste Land' that the composer appended to the score have it. Nunes' Chessed I is part of a series of works based on the Jewish mystical tradition, but also of works from the period of the composer's output when the number four was used as an important structural generator. The ensemble consists of four groups each of four instruments in the same family, and in a manner curiously and coincidentally similar to the Poppe (though in a more strictly serially deterministic fashion), a sonic 'organism' grows out of intervallic proportions, rhythm, dynamics and timbre based on the 'primal principle' of number-derived cyclicity. The result is complex, organic, dense and unpredictable, though with a sense of progression toward a final incandescent clarity. Ensemble Musikfabrik.