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MGB Records (Migros-Genossenschafts-Bund)

Daniel OTT (b. 1960)
Klangkörperklang (2000)
Ensemble directed by composer
rec. 16-20 Apr 2002, Schweizer Radio DRS2, Zürich. DDD


Daniel Ott's part-composed, part-improvised piece was prepared for the Swiss Pavilion's Sound Box at Hannover's Expo 2000. Some three hundred musicians contributed when it was given at the Expo - they are all named in the booklet.

The piece is recreated here by 24 instrumentalists. The splendidly detailed notes give extensive background stressing the musicís linkage with the larch and pine architecture and the wide-ranging catholicity of the Swiss sources on which Ott draws. The soundworld is eclectic. There is the gemutlich Bettina and Hans (trs. 4 and 13) in which a ruddy-cheeked rustic sentimental waltz is corroded until it collapses into a flailing gamelan rout from which the body parts of the waltz reach out in agony. Accordions chatter and saxophones wail. There is even an alphorn, driven and dashed by keyboard figures that slam and rush in a minimalist Nyman-like insistence that will not be denied. 19/12 begins with a horrific vision of bedlam which decays into a quiet patter. Avant-garde jazz crosses into Ott's creativity as does some rather desiccated percussive effects in E-Bass (tr. 12).

Ott, composer and pianist, studied theatre in Paris and London and composition in Essen and Freiburg. In 1990 he founded the festival Contemporary Music Rümlingen. He teaches experimental music at the University of the Arts in Berlin (see

Another superbly documented and executed volume of Swiss modernism from MGB. Would that British resources stretched to such ambitious projects and to the concomitant open-mindedness that permits such risk-taking.

Rob Barnett


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