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DUNELM Records

Anairesis Ensemble: Music by Cetiz and Demopoulos
Mahir CETIZ (b. 1977)

Mist Bells for small ensemble (2002-2003) [13:45]
Triptych for piano solo (2003) [14:17]
Polarisation for solo bassoon (2002) [6:46]
Panayiotis DEMOPOULOS (b. 1977)

Theme and variations on a villota by Filippo Azzaiolo (2003) [14:54]
Three songs for bass and piano (2002) [12:02]
Of Seventh Doors (suite for cello and piano) (2002) [14:56]
Anairesis Ensemble/Matthew Coorey
Rec. May 9, 2003 Birtwistle Festival, Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester and June 11, 2003 at St. Annís Church, Manchester DDD


When considering the viability of a given art form, one must wonder where the next generation of talent is currently incubating. There is never a static state to any performed art; it cannot simply lie stagnant; it is constantly evolving, coming more into the public consciousness or being ignored as the art slowly dies. Symphonic music is arguably the most mature of the performed arts still extant, and as such the sheer volume of its history seems often to overwhelm the listener. Most fans will find themselves returning time and again to the same pieces by the same composers, perhaps even the same recordings made decades ago. However a music where this is the framework, where it survives is on life support, has already heard its own banshee.

Thus as a lover of classical and symphonic music, it was a great pleasure to hear this disc for the first time. The two composers were born in 1977, and have already found distinct voices, writing music that is both steeped in tradition and yet vibrant and alive. The two men are bound together by more than their age. They are both from the eastern Mediterranean, Cetiz being from Turkey and Demopoulos from Greece. They studied together at the Royal Northern College of Music under Dr. Anthony Gilbert. They are pianists with the Anairesis ensemble together, and even perform each others works.

The first three works are by Mahir Cetiz, who also performs on piano on his own Triptych for piano solo. His works here are often serious, bordering on brooding, alternating with mysterious introspection. They have a sound reminiscent of the works of a pre-tone-row Schoenberg or a young Stravinsky when writing for smaller ensembles. Freely tonal and respectfully dissonant without ever abusing or alienating the listener, these works are quite beautiful in their introspection. The Polarisation hearkens back to Stravinsky, and is among the more interesting pieces for unaccompanied instrument that this reviewer has encountered in the realm of new music. It is possibly his best work here, and is beautifully performed by Ates Kirkan, for whom the piece was originally written.

Demopoulos makes a greater use of instruments and incorporates a broader musical tradition. His Theme and variations on a villota by Filipoto Azzaiolo is a five movement work based on a late 16th century original. The instrumentation of flute, cor anglais, clarinet, bassoon and horn is flexible, and refers back to works of the Renaissance, blended magnificently with the tonalities and timbres of the early 20th century. Each movement builds logically upon the last, progressing in a traditional way in both tempo and tonality, but staying fresh throughout. There are moments where one can almost feel the tonalities, and others where the composer experiments with the open baroque or renaissance treatment that must bear close resemblance to the original. The Three songs for bass and piano are performed by Mahir Cetiz and Richard Weingold. This is a song cycle with texts from various sources centring on the theme of human alienation. The performers do a worthy job of an innovative, if somewhat depressing, work. The third piece, Of Seventh Doors, is a very worthy work, with seven continuously played movements. It was inspired by Bartókís Bluebeardís Castle, and borrows from the voicings and tonalities of the original. Even so, it maintains a strong character of its own. There are more avant-garde elements here with strumming on the strings inside the piano and alternate bowing techniques on the cello. The result is a wonderful blending of the romantic, the modern and the post-modern to make a young manís masterpiece.

This album is a joy. It shows the future of symphonic music, and makes a strong case that its future is strong and healthy. Demopoulos in particular is a shining light in the land of young composers, and all six pieces are quite good. Anyone interested in the future of symphonic music should find this album.

Patrick Gary


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