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Hahn and Hauschka began rehearsing together in early 2009 although these cannot really be described as rehearsals in a traditional sense. Through improvisation they discovered more about their respective musical approaches while defining a shared musical language.When they were in different parts of the world they would send each other music files and then improvise on these pieces or layer them with additional sound tracks. The only public indication of their collaboration was when Hahn played solo violin on the track Girls on Hauschka s album Salon des Amateurs, which was released in 2011.
For Hauschka, who prepares the strings of his piano with small pieces of metal, clips or different kinds of foils to create new sounds and modify the dynamics of the instrument, improvisation is a crucial element in his everyday life as a performer. And for Hahn, too, improvising is a way of adding new dimensions to her interpretations of composed works.
In early 2011 Hauschka and Hahn first began talking about going into the recording studio. Here, too, the process itself was the goal, and for this reason they didn t tell anyone what they were planning neither their colleagues nor their record companies were informed, so that no commissioning agent or external pressure could influence the outcome of their collaborative efforts. In May 2011 Hahn and Hauschka met at the prestigious Greenhouse Studios in Reykjavik, Iceland. They took no scores with them and ignored the set pieces they had already developed, as everything they were going to record was to be improvised.
The only exception to this was the piano line of Krakow. Hauschka had previously sent this to Hahn and asked her to improvise on it. Its sepia-tinted nostalgia intrigued her. During the recordings, they revisited the track and Hahn reworked the violin parts on the spot. Krakow is also the only track on the album where Hauschka did not prepare the piano.
This unconventional working method after all, musicians usually go into the studio to record music they have already prepared enabled Hahn and Hauschka to integrate the prevailing mood and their spontaneous impressions into their recondings. Producer Valgeir SigurÃ°sson, who has worked with a diverse array of artists ranging from BjÃ¶rk to Bonnie Prince Billie, und
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Top Customer Reviews
The album was recorded at the studio of Icelandic producer Valgeir Sigurðsson, who founded the Bedroom Community record label and has frequently worked with Björk. The recording sessions for Silfra lasted ten days, and Hahn and Hauschka brought practically no material with them to the studio. They set out to create new music, and the recording process appears to have mainly been based on basic tracks recorded in joint improvisation which were then filled out with successive layers of overdubs to fill out the sound and add new dimensions.
Broadly speaking, I found two main types of music on this album: rhythmically driven tracks and slower, atmospheric pieces. Where rhythms are strong, they are often downright exuberant. Many tracks -- particularly Bounce Bounce, Adash, Draw a Map, and Sink -- are just a lot of fun. Others, such as Stillness, Ashes, and Rift, are more subdued, wistful and/or contemplative.
The centerpiece of the album, the 12-minute opus Godot, varies between searing atmospherics and edgy, often jackhammer-like percussive sounds from the prepared piano.
The most traditionally structured track is Krakow, which was the only piece of music that did not wholly originate from the Iceland sessions as Hauschka recorded the basic piano track at his home.Read more ›
The music is pleasant enough, with interesting acoustics, but really, what do you expect when a prepared piano is involved? I laud the musicians for doing improvisations, but I would rather listen to something carefully written out if this is all they can do with improvisations. Hauschka is quite ok, but Hahn... She's a great violinist. In the past, I had the pleasure to hear some truly great improvisations, and I have to say this is not. I feel that the music lacks a real sense of composition that gives a piece structure, that gets me return to a piece over and over again. To me the music itself is not very memorable in the first place, which is fine if it's interesting enough for repeated listening. The thing is, I don't find it interesting enough.
As for the novelty element... Barring the fact that it's done by classical musicians, there's not much new here. You can find similar sounds in many post-rock or ambient albums. If there's something that could have set Hahn and Hauschka apart from those musicians, it's that they could have given the music the level of structure that usually only musicians with classical training can achieve. But oh well... Dare I say, those musicians with much less formal training have done better.
Maybe my expectation was too high. I was hoping to hear the "Tabula Rasa" (a minimalist work written by Arvo Part in the 1980s for Gidon Kremer) of our age - not in terms of style, but in terms of inspirations and impact. Now I guess I'll just have to stick to that for some time longer.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
It's great to hear classically-trained musicians like Hahn and Hauschka breaking the mold, crossing over, and doing something new and different. Read morePublished 18 months ago by Amazon Customer
I only heard one piece before I bought this (Bounce Bounce, which has a great video to go with it here: http://goo.gl/tbXcLt) so I had only a small idea of what awaited me. Read morePublished 22 months ago by facedog99
Really not what I expected at all. While I respect the live-studio, and largely improvised approach, it does not lend itself to easy listening. Read morePublished 23 months ago by Scott E. Wells
A step aside for Hilary Hahn but very nice. Still I prefer the way she plays classical music which is her core business..Published on December 6, 2013 by Paul
Has it really been six months since I've seen Hilary Hahn & Hauschka perform live? I can't slow the time, but I can keep the memories. Read morePublished on February 23, 2013 by Headphone Commute
I am not learned enough to bore you with a lengthy review. This disc is just what I like. Adventurous, talented musicians taking chances trying something new. Read morePublished on July 7, 2012 by Curious Skeptic
This series of improvisations by the duo of American classical violinist Hilary Hahn and German pianist Volker Bertelmann, known as Hauschka, is unique in more way than... Read more