MICHAEL BASTIAN WEIß (b.1974): Fragmenta Missarum pro Defunctis for Piano Solo, Op. 7, Sonate über die Dunkelheit (Symphony No. 2) for Harpsichord, Op. 13.
Catalogue Number: 10L119
Description: The two movements of the 'Requiem Fragments' explore very specific concepts of the Requiem Mass in pianistic terms. 'Luceat eis' refers to 'eternal light', here expressed in isolated flickering chords and a high-pitched delicate melody, almost as still as something Feldman might have done. The far more active 'Per seplulchra', with its cross-rhythms and polytonal harmony has something in common with Messiaen at the outset, and then subsides into simpler, static textures and a suggestion of a kind of chorale, before a thunderous climax and a final withdrawal into the eternal light textures of the first movement. A fifty-minute harpsichord sonata, moreover designated a 'symphony', is a strange concept, but this five-movement structure succeeds in breathing on a symphonic scale, and the incorporation of variation forms and fugue both refer to the history of the instrument and provide structural outlines to justify the extended timescale and offset the relatively limited dynamic and timbral contrast afforded by the instrument. To further expand the timbral palette, one manual is tuned a quarter-tone apart from the other; direct confrontation between the two temperaments to create a strange new tone-colour is used sparingly, but the hocketing alternation of thematic material between the two produces a greatly expanded melodic vocabulary as well. Andreas Skouras (keyboards).