Voix Voilées (Veiled Voices): Spectral Piano Music
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VOIX VOILÉES (Veiled Voices) : spectral piano music MARILYN NONKEN Marilyn Nonken is without doubt one of the leading exponents of modern piano music, and also Director of Piano Studies at New York University's Steinhardt School. She has a particular affinity with the spectral school of music, as exemplified in her previous CD of the works of Tristan Murail (92097) - Metier's best seller. This sequel features a major (half-hour-long) work by another of the founding generation of spectral music, Hugues Dufourt, and awesome pieces by young American composer Joshua Fineberg. As part of our planned programmes of musical information we will soon have available a video in which Marilyn Nonken talks about the making of this CD and about spectral music.
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Top Customer Reviews
Dufourt has delved deeper into the repertoire of visual arts, painterly context for concepts of tone,and reference that help structure the moments he creates.
His music unfolds with great detail and care for time;perhaps a post-modern paradigm. He has staid away from the voice, perhaps distrusting the fidelity of the printed romantic word. Instead he likes to have a conceptual gulf a distance between him and the materials he deploys.
He has been prolific regarding the piano; ensemble works with the piano,and other solos,on nature"rastlose","Meerstille" and also a full-bodied "piano concerto" . . . . .
There has always been an element of restraint in his music, high degrees of control; it is science that guides the acoustic phenomenon,we must remember. . . but that seems to get skewed, disregarded when the reality of creating a musical work for a public is the agenda. This always gives way to the romantic impulse,We have never left it within modernity. . . the long line,the ferocious unending "storms",resonant tremors, Lisztian gusts of fistfulls of tones,exploiting basso registers for single clangorous gong-like tones, the rhapsodic.
I don't know why in print and interview the spectralists deny their affinity to the romantic road of the emotions.
I did find the timbre of the recording studio piano a bit unwelcome, plaintive and dull, not always bright, or brilliant.
Fineberg also considers himself a spectralist; his formative years of study were in direct proximity to this school of music.
What this was, was indeed quite interesting, the deep appreciation, the sensitivity to the resonance, the timbre, the klangfarben of musical tones; that tones take with their structure fine particles of overtones,grams, in micro-seconds that come to colour, to give density,weight, intensity to tones, and chords. . .. Just Intonation as well would go as far as structuring the overtones in ratio from a beginning tone, within a large scale upwards. . .
The primary piece here I found was Dufourt's 'reading' of Schubert's Lied "Erlkoenig",a very post-modern approach to intercede into a known place;the Schubert is about death, hope, fear, resolution, and danger. The original Schubert is a well known romantic icon with the dark momentum;those incessant repeated tones,the octave in G-minor, it is the pinnacle of romantic philosophy after the Goethe poem in what it represents.
Dufourt's piece herein a welcome 30 minutes and we have this almost mindless repetition, like plaintive declamations to existence or to space, or to the mysteries of the universe . . . . often clangorous,metallic,surface bound, the lingua franca of French music, almost like a call n' response structure., gesture. . .
There are interesting single tones, cello-like that emerge within the piece, to single gong-like basso tones in the lowest register of the piano,all within the more furioso moments that guides the upper partials.
Dufourt knows how to create grand powerful moments,the music at times seems abandoned to itself or some higher force. . . no matter what genre he works in. Here he the resonance their own spaces. Time,temporality is all we have he is saying.We move toward the "clearing" of the romantic beauty. Often the music remains on the surface, the discourse is chordal primarily,almost orchestral with fast filigree lines, "tres vif" . . . the work is compelling if you actually forget the original Schubert, which really only guides Dufourt's work from a great distance, in the sky of romantic time.
Nonken tries to locate more the lyrical moments in the music, holding back many times. creating more beautiful moments. She never makes an ugly brutal tone, as you might find in Francois-Frederic Guy's reading of the Dufourt piece.
Fineberg's primary work here was his"Lightening" "Veils" and "Grisaille" again the latter is a dark adagio, penumbral, always lost in the basso regions of the piano's resonance. Single bass tones is like a lone monad voice. The upper regions are quite beautiful as well, given to fill the musical spaces with the metallic sounds of the clusters of the highest piano tones.You know this music is poetic for the silences are never more than you as a listener expect.The silences never overtax their dramatic function, and there always seems to be a space where the music seems befuddled with itself,lost within it's own shaped defined spaces.
Fineberg's music is gentle,and poetic,even theatrical here with repeated tones in "Grisaille" more anti- declamatory now . He also like Dufourt takes his time. He considers his musical language as spectral where his formative years were in close proximity to this line of thinking. His clangorous resonances take much time for contemplation and space, spaces that seem like only pauses, but lend a structural weight,again poetic, where you pause to take a breath to the next line. Fineberg's music is quite lyrical,elegant refined to a degree. . .like a ceramic figurine. . . . often threadbare, sparse. His "Veils"I thought of Debussy's famous "prelude" is also clangorous as an intro and at times, but mostly within the realm of pp, soft, and again gentle.