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 music’s 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 www.danielott.com).
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.