BETSY JOLAS (b.1926): Quatuor IV "avec clarinette" for Clarinet and String Trio, Motet IV "Ventosum vocant" for Soprano, Flute, Clarinet, Violin, Cello and Harp, Lovemusic for Flute and Bass Clarinet, Trio "Les heures" for Piano Trio.
Catalogue Number: 12I087
Reference: 442 8449
Description: A product of the generation which included Stockhausen and Boulez, to which post-Webernian serialism was the future language of music, yet preserving an affinity with and allegiance to the music of the Renaissance, Jolas ended up writing music the origins of which may be traceable, but which actually sounds like neither. Restlessly shifting intervals and harmonic centers of gravity, and oblique, ambiguous, fleeting impressions suggest Webernian economy and freedom from the restraints of tonality, but the unceasingly beautiful instrumental textures, and sustained melodic lines hint at another æsthetic altogether. The music seems highly organised and yet possesses a great sense of expressive freedom; Lovemusic sounds like a spontaneous dialogue between two characters; the trio incorporates glissandi and microtones in abundance to distort the familiar intervals and chords, and yet seems as formally precise as a chamber work of the early classical period or a strictly serial work from the 1950s. This paradox is nowhere more apparent than in the extended Motet IV, with the voice providing a narrative thread in a variety of techniques, from sprechstimme to eloquent lyricism, incorporated into textures which evoke events described in the mystical-allegorical text (by Petrarch) through vivid instrumental gesture and kaleidoscopically shifting tonalities. Ensemble Accroche Note.