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MGB Records (Migros-Genossenschafts-Bund)

Musica Riservata
Jia GUOPING (b.1963) Schweben über grenzenlosern Feld (2002)
Hans Ulrich LEHMAN (b. 1937) Minuties (1998)
Rudolf KELTERBORN (b.1931) Invention (1998)
Alfred ZIMMERLIN (b.1955) Anderer Ort (1998)
Nadir VASSENA (b. 1970) Formulae (1997)
Lukas LANGLOTZ (b. 1971) Facetten (1997)
Urban MÄDDER (b. 1955) En suite (1997)
Peter WETTSTEIN (b. 1939) Sieben Miniaturen (1974)
Wang PENG (b. 1976) Yàna (2001)
Heinrich Keller (flute)
Brigitta Steinbrecher (harpsichord/piano)
rec. 1975-2003, Radiostudio Zürich.


This collection by the dedicated and highly virtuosic duo that is Musica Riservata features modernistic music for flute and keyboard. All but the Guoping and the Peng are with piano; the rest are with harpsichord. Collectors committed in depth to the modern flute literature will find this an essential purchase. More general interest is likely to be limited. The Guoping, Kelterborn, Lehman and Wettstein are alive with skittering activity and flights of shrapnel-like fragmentation. These are not essays in lyrical continuity or the long sung line. Contrast this with Zimmerlin's Bachian arioso. This is flavoured with only the deftest momentary dissonance until the 'evil genius' of the harpsichord starts to cast its devastating spell at 1.37. That spell carries over into the Vassena which is as ascetically extreme as the title suggests. The Langlotz is full of a Crumb-like delicacy and faery fantasy across its eight micro-movements. The Langlotz, Zimmerlin and Mädder pieces are the most refreshing items here although even here your tastes need to be hardy enough not to be put off by the apparatus of avant-garde ivory towers. The four movement Mädder suite blends Crumb's pointillism with Ravel and Oriental and minimalist repetitive gestures (trs.17 and 19). Wettstein's Seven Miniatures betrays its 1975 analogue origins with a distinct iron oxide hiss. It is the only track from that era - the rest being 1990s (or later) digital. The Peng item is in keeping with the avant-garderie of the other tracks but with a fruitily voluptuous swooping role for the flute fading into dissonant decay.
One for modernist flute enthusiasts. Superbly played, recorded and annotated.

Rob Barnett


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