Classical Editor: Rob Barnett                               Music Webmaster Len Mullenger:

Donaueschinger Musiktage 1999

World Premiere Recordings

col legno WWE 20075 2CDs [135.30]

CD 1

Eötvös, Peter (*1944)
As I crossed a bridge of dreams (1999)
Klangtheater nach "Lady Sarashina"
(Tagebuch einer japanischen Hofdame aus dem Jahre 1008)
Claire Bloom, recitation o Mike Svoboda, trombone
Gérard Buquet, tuba o Klaus Burger, sousaphone
Members of the Neue Vokalsolisten Stuttgart:
Christine Schmeling, mezzosoprano o Stephanie Field, alto
Matthias Horn, baritone o Thea Brejzek: Regie VARIANTI
Manfred Schreier: music director

Hilario, Alan (*1967)
Early 70´s, three scenes in Brooklyn Street, Cubao (1999)
for solo accordeon, small ensemble and silent cinefilm
Sven Hermann, accordeon
(Ensemble) VARIANTI o Manfred Schreier, director

CD 2

Taborda, Tato (*1960)
Estratos (1999)
for native instruments
Orquesta Experimental de Instrumentos nativos, La Paz
Cergio Prudencio, director

Prudencio, Cergio (*1955)
Cantos Crepusculares (1999)
Cantos de Tierra (1990)
for native instruments
Orquesta Experimental de Instrumentos nativos, La Paz
Cergio Prudencio, director

Mochizuki, Misato (*1969)
Camera Lucida (1999)
Dominic Donato, Diamond Marimba
Gregory Hesselink, adapted viola (tenorviolin/-cello)
SWR-Sinfonieorchester Baden-Baden und Freiburg
Sylvain Cambreling, director

My attention to this important new release was caught by seeing the names of Misato Mochizuki and Peter Eötvös.

Eötvös used to be a familiar figure, conducting regularly in London. He was encountered by S&H at Amsterdam recently during the Gaudeamus Week, where he was in charge of the Kirill Kondrashin Conductors Masterclass and Competition in contemporary music, and his compositions have been regularly reviewed in Seen&Heard, MusicWeb and elsewhere: April00  November00

In his As I crossed a bridge of dreams, the famous English film and theatre actress Claire Bloom recites fragments from the 1008 diary of a Japanese court lady in English translation (Penguin Classics, 1975) with perfect diction, her delivery leaving you hanging on her every next word. Eötvös deploys electronic manipulation with an unusual group of supporting brass soloists, the chamber ensemble Varianti and members of the Neuen Vocalisten Stuttgart for Lady Sarashina's evocative tales of a talking cat and her erotic musings about a man with whom she believed there had been mutual attraction. Unique, accessible and haunting - delicious.

The young Japanese composer Misato Mochizuki, now resident in Paris, has attracted the attention of Seen&Heard several times already, first for a brilliant solo oboe piece given at Eclat 2000 in Stuttgart. Au bleu bois integrates all the extended oboe techniques developed in recent years so that they feel entirely natural. Nor did her All that is including me for violin, clarinet & bass flute disappoint in Amsterdam - it confirmed my good impression of her imaginative assimilation of oriental roots into a contemporary language.

Mochizuki was picked out for mention also by John Warnaby, who at Witten found that Chimera underlined the consistency of her output. We look forward to hearing her Chimera very shortly, in Eclat 2001 at Stuttgart.

Mochizuki's major score for large orchestra, Camera Lucida (20 mins), is inspired by consideration of light and the world of photography, with 'filtration, expansion & contraction - - cutting a movement or note into ribbons - - reflection on temporal development of musical parameters a central theme'. I found it strange and elusive first time - it gets under your skin on repetition, as do two extraordinary works for native South American instruments by two composers, Tato Taborda and Cergio Prudencio, who were both inspired by the sonic possibilities of the Orquesta Experimental de Instrumentos Nativos, La Paz. You will have heard nothing like any of these works, which explore possibilities far from those which are dominant in the UK contemporary music scene.

The work by Alan Hilario, directed by Manfred Schreier as is the Eötvös, is perhaps the hardest to digest, a multi-media creation (a feature of the festival in the most recent times) which cannot be fully appreciated in sound alone. Hilario explores connections between film and music, with a dauntingly intellectual explanatory essay. No matter, this souvenir of Donaueschinger Musiktage 1999 shows a lively openness to contemporary influences and preoccupations which makes us keen to visit this long established and pioneering festival and share the experience with readers of S&H and MusicWeb.

Peter Grahame Woolf

Return to Index

Reviews from previous months

You can purchase CDs, tickets and musician's accessories and Save around 22% with these retailers: - The UK's Biggest Video Store Concert and Show tickets
Musicians accessories
Click here to visit