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Recordings of the Month


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Carl RÜTTI (b.1949)
In the Belfry of your Silence (1978) [12:36]
Under the Linden tree (harp solo) (1983) [5:36]
The Four elements (piano solo) (2006-2009) [38:34]
The Dance of Obedience (1997 arr. 2011) [16:37]
Praxedis Hug Rutti (harp), Praxedis Genevieve Hug (piano)
rec. April 2012, Aula Sargans, Switzerland, May 2013, Flugelsaal Bulach, Switzerland
GUILD GMCD 7402 [73:59]

The Swiss composer Carl Rütti was a new name to me and certainly there are very few pieces for the combination for harp and piano. Before turning to this CD I watched a live concert of these two young players performing Der Tanz des Gehorsams on You Tube to get an idea of the music. They certainly play well and if I heard this at a concert I would enjoy it.
Rütti is mainly known for his choral music. The Bach Choir and Southern Sinfonia under David Hill recorded his 2007 Requiem in 2009 for Naxos. This was reviewed by my colleague and composer Robert Hugill. Mr Hugill describes the music as achingly beautiful at times. He reports that it is extremely approachable without talking down to the listener whilst acknowledging that it does not reach the heights and depths of the greatest music.
Listening to the present CD is certainly a pleasure and ideal at the end of a busy day. However I concur that these are not masterpieces although they certainly have something worthwhile for the listener.
The first piece, intriguingly entitled In the Belfry of your Silence was based on a poem by Paul Celan (1920-1970), a Romanian Jew, imprisoned by the Nazis. Rütti’s inspiration also flowed from woodcuts by Peter Wulliman. The music is melodic and haunting. Here I must make mention of the playing and the superb recording. To put the music in context one could draw parallels with a modern Ravel and Debussy in that the melodies paint pictures in the mind of the listener. Water-falls and trickling streams are what come to mind when I listen to these pieces and the beauty of nature. 

Under the Linden tree,the harp solo, was inspired by a poem by Walther von der Vogelweide (1170-1230) and has a Spanish guitar effect. It’s a slight piece, beautifully played. It’s otherworldly and conveys the secret of two lovers, unknown except to a bird and the roses. 

The Four elements, for solo piano is more substantial with movements representing wind, water, earth and fire. In these pieces I detected more of an influence from the Viennese masters than recent composers. This is especially the case in Mutter Erde which conveys death in winter but there’s also a positive dimension flowing from the blossoms of spring. Listeners put off by much modern music will find this eminently approachable. Vater Feuer includes great rumblings on the piano and immediately brings to mind the volcanoes wo which the earth is still prone.
The Dance of Obedience sees the two players reunited. This work was inspired by the poems of the same name by Silja Walter (1919-2011) written after twenty years living as a nun. It is a sign of her remote world that she wasn’t allowed internet access until 2010. The poems, which are in the well-contained and informative booklet, tell of her path to God through Gomer, who appears in the books of Genesis and Ezekiel. The music is spiritual and if not earth-shattering its tranquility, conveyed by a haunting theme on the harp, makes it a listen where one can let ones mind draw pictures.
To sum up. I greatly enjoyed listening to this music and will return to it when I want evocations of nature and spirituality. The players and production team are to be congratulated, as is the composer.  

David R Dunsmore