Psalm 151; Psy; Triangel
Zoltan Racz (percussion) UMZE
Chamber Ensemble/Peter Eötvös
BIS 948 [65.34]
Here is one of the most important percussion CDs I have heard for many a
month. A large number of diverse instruments is used in three works which
explore various modes of communication. Peter Eötvös is
a notable, innovative composer and conductor, with a complex opera on The
Three Sisters of Chekov one of his recent major works on CD.
Psalm 151 (1993) is a ritual memorial protestation in memory of Frank
Zappa, with strophes on bass drum and 'processions' on metal instruments.
Psy is a 'parlando-rubato-recitativo' for marimba with flute
& cello, the marimba's freedom followed by the other instruments 'like
a shadow'. Triangel (37 mins) is a large scale work 'for a creative
percussionist' with the percussionist more like an African 'master drummer'
leader. Twenty seven musicians are involved in its ten movements, which set
compositional tasks and incorporate 'exercises in hearing' and decision taking.
The soloist begins by improvising on a small triangle and thereafter establishes
different relationships with four groups of instruments, who have to demonstrate
great flexibility. For instance, in the movement The glass street
the soloist plays on glass bells, the woodwind players respond by blowing
tuned glasses!. There is an 'African' movement where he 'teaches the people'
to drum; no rehearsal, the performance as recorded having depended on the
moment and the mood.
A very rich and heady mixture, supported by taped conversation between composer
and the eminent percussionist Zoltan Racz, founder and artistic director
of the Amandinda perculssion Group. Impeccably recorded with close microphone
placing so that the experience received is closer to that of the players
than of listeners in a concert. Definitely a CD to collect if you are interested
in the development of percussion during the late 20th Century.
Peter Grahame Woolf