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Flute & Bass, the new CD with pieces for flute and doublebass solos and in duo by the amazing composer Bernhard Lang, is finally out from Kairos label.

I am particularly happy to share this project with Dario Calderone, a truly inspiring musician and doublebass virtuoso, and of course with my good friend and longtime collaborator Bernhard Lang.

https://www.kairos-music.com/cds/0015089kai

                     

 

                 

                          

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Ettore Garzia - Percorsi Musicali

 

L’incontro tra un flauto (di qualsiasi tipo) e un contrabbasso nella musica contemporanea non è stato certamente argomento molto coltivato da compositori e musicisti del settore. Specialmente per il contrabbasso si è creato un ampio repertorio in solo o con l’ausilio dell’elettronica, ossia atti di sperimentazione timbrica necessari per uno strumento che era considerato solo dal suo lato ritmico. Qual è la ragione? Si può pensare che tra flauti e contrabbassi sottoposti alle normali tecniche di estensione della classica, si possa creare un cortocircuito, dove privando gli strumenti della parte armonica si instaura un regime di tocchi e insufflazioni potenzialmente nocivi per la fruizione? Nulla di questo, penso sia decisivo, quanto piuttosto il fatto che la scarsità del repertorio è anche funzione del livello di interesse degli esecutori, perché qualcosa di buono e differente può scaturire certamente dal connubio citato: in questa direzione si sono mossi contrabbassisti avidi di nuove esperienze; Uli Fussenegger (il contrabbassista della Klangforum Wien), Florentin Ginot (contrabbassista dell’Ensemble Musikfabrik) e soprattutto Dario Calderone (allievo prediletto di Scodanibbio ed interprete eccellente della realtà sperimentale intorno allo strumento in termini di amplificazioni, partiture interattive e uso dell’elettronica). Nella più sparuta area del connubio flauto-contrabbasso, dei punti fermi sono l’Ira/Arca di Beat Furrer (composizione orbitante intorno a Fussenegger ed Eva Furrer) e il DW22 “Winterlicht” di Bernhard Lang, che ottiene una bellissima registrazione su Kairos, grazie a Calderone e Manuel Zurria. DW22 “Winterlicht” è parte di un trittico di composizioni di Lang, che prevede anche esecuzioni in solo di Zurria e Calderone. Della durata di oltre 26 minuti e diviso in 3 parti, il DW22 si incastona nella serie delle Differenz/Wiederholung, che ruotano attorno alla filosofia deleuziana, uno degli standard ideologici di Lang: i tre movimenti, pur lavorando a combinazioni rielaborate su reiterazioni fondamentali, sono in grado di captare flussi sonori, scuri e talvolta ritmici, con una registrazione ottimale che fa assaporare la pienezza dei suoni degli strumenti su certi registri; è una partitura che premia la bravura dei musicisti e per Zweiter Satz, quindici minuti che costituiscono la parte centrale e più lunga del DW22, è come mettere assieme un idiosincratico Gazzelloni con un Dresser solerte; Dritter Satz apre con uno schema ritmico che potrebbe essere mutuato dal rock, direi quasi un math-rock prestato alla contemporanea, che poi si conduce in una bellissima avventura determinata dalle tecniche estese. La raccolta della Kairos, come detto, al suo interno contiene anche Monadologie XVI “solfeggio”, un solo flauto che rientra nelle deduzioni atomistiche di Lang e DW25 …more loops for U., solo per contrabbasso a cinque corde ed amplificato: mentre il primo è un bellissimo tour de force in cui, nonostante le sodomizzazioni obbligate e prodotte da Zurria in molti punti, si avverte l’intensità del timbro e quasi una presenza aggiuntiva sul flauto, il secondo copre patterns circolari che in alcuni casi potrebbero appartenere alle conduzioni e ai riffs di una chitarra elettrica, 12 minuti di lavorazioni che comprendono molte manovre estese sullo strumento, armonici e multifonici, selezioni di loops che molto probabilmente assorbono l’ottima cultura di Lang sulle culture popolari e dance dei nostri tempi; c’è persino il tempo di scorgere anche alcune onomatopeiche vocali, segnali di una partecipazione ritmico-compulsiva profusa nell’esibizione. Segnalo, per finire, che la DW22 “Winterlicht” è nata come dedica alla flautista Riccarda Caflisch, mentre il solo contrabbasso nacque per Uli Fussenegger; quanto al solo flauto fu originariamente materia di un concorso che lo rifiuto per la sua difficoltà e Lang lo rivisitò due anni dopo assieme a Zurria, che alla fine divenne il dedicatario del pezzo.
Grandi compositori, esecutori e versioni.

Ismael Cabral

«Bucles a pequeña escala»

El Compositor Habla

Sexto monográfico que el sello austríaco Kairos dedica a su compatriota, el compositor Bernhard Lang (Linz, 1957). Podríamos afirmar que la defensa de su obra viene siendo una de las señas de identidad de la discográfica desde el momento de su fundación; una confianza que se ha mantenido intacta a lo largo de los años pese a distintos avatares y cambios internos en la dirección del label. Unos meses después de la publicación de la mastodóntica ópera ParZeFool(2017) se pone ahora en circulación este breve disco que casi podríamos entender como el reverso de aquella edición; pues se trata de una (modesta en efectivos) colección de tres piezas camerísticas; dos de ellas para instrumentos a solo y un dúo. Dos músicos (italianos para más señas) con una trayectoria intensamente ligada al ámbito contemporáneo protagonizan el álbum, el flautista Manuel Zurria y el contrabajista Dario Calderone, a quien debemos por cierto una de las grabaciones más severas y concentradas de la fonografía consagrada al norteamericano James Tenney, Bass Works (Hat Art). Ninguna de las partituras aquí recogidas sorprenderá al conocedor de los derroteros musicales que transita Lang. Si "la diferencia radica en la repetición", como repetía el filósofo Gilles Deleuze, el músico parece haberse grabado a fuego tal aserto en su ideario. Una reflexión que, antes que al repetitivismo norteamericano, le habrá de conducir tempranamente en su catálogo al loop, al bucle infinito, pero también a una idea singular de una reiteración en la que la música se va adulterando conforme se enrosca. Desde luego que colisionan también en la estética de Lang esquejes de géneros ajenos a la academia como el free jazz, la improvisación libre y la cultura deejay. Desde 1998 data la primera obra de la colección Differenz / Wiederholung (Diferencia / Repetición), de la que aquí se ofrecen dos piezas. La primera de ellas es DW 25... more loops for U. (2015), dedicada al contrabajista Uli Fussenegger. Obra que defiende Calderone desplegando una plétora de técnicas extendidas en el contexto de una página que se construye mediante la adición de heterogéneas capas rítmicas; ya la evocación de un ritmo technoide en la voz del intérprete ("ts, ts, ts") o la cultura del scratch (con sonoridades extraídas del contrabajo que indican los accidentes de un vinilo). Solo al final se permite Lang un fugaz y acogedor apunte melódico que remite al himno luterano Es ist genug. Dividida en tres movimientos DW 22 Winterlicht (2010) hace confluir a Zurria y Calderone en esta singular y extraña combinación tímbrica (flauta baja / contrabajo) que el compositor explora y explota a lo largo de la más amplia pieza de las tres contenidas en el disco. Obra frenética y más rígida que la anterior, la alternancia de tiempos y secciones rítmicas muy bien definidas le confieren en la escucha una mayor convencionalidad. Monadologie XVI "solfeggio" (2011) pertenece a una serie distinta, con más de 40 obras ya compuestas, y en la que todas las partituras parten de músicas preexistentes que son borradas a jirones en la nueva creación; recordando a como el artista plástico Wolf Vostell borraba y hacía nacer la novedad a partir del decollage mediante procesos de arrancado y tachado. En esta página para flauta sola Lang adopta una postura ciertamente irónica respecto de la esquemática idea de estudio musical, especialmente a partir de su forma clásica, como los que desarrolló el rey Federico II, flautista y compositor. Escrita bajo la indicación de que se toque "tan rápido como sea posible", Monadologie XVI plantea, desde luego, un reto virtuoso al ejecutante que es a la vez también un posicionamiento crítico, una burla a la idea de la vacua pirotecnia interpretativa. Compuesto inicialmente para un concurso de flauta la partitura sería devuelta a Lang por su supuesta inejecutabilidad; lo que daría aún más argumento corrosivo al compositor para defender una obra en la que elementos clásicos y otros radicalmente contemporáneos conviven como forma de enfocar y desenfocar el pasado; otra forma de ouroboros compositivo, incluso un bucle, si se quiere, analizado de manera diferente a como se piensa en la serie DW. A pequeña escala, y sin constituir un disco fundamental en la nutrida discografía langiana, hay en las obras aquí expuestas suficiente interés como para volver a ellas en más de una ocasión.

Daniel Barbiero

Avant Music News

The music on Bernhard Lang’s Flute & Bass, and indeed much of the Viennese composer’s mature music, was inspired by the paradox of repetition. The repeated object is somehow both the same and different all at once, in a way that, roughly, a copy is the same and yet different from its original. Lang’s direct inspiration came from his reading of Gilles Deleuze’s book Repetition and Difference, but in one form or another the paradox can be traced as far back as Heraclitus or, more recently and provocatively, to Borges’ story of Menand’s rewriting of Don Quixote. Be that as it may, Flute & Bass is a set of three works whose conceptual depth and performative challenges never overshadow their compelling musicality. Lang engages the paradox of repetition through the use of reiterated musical elements. This is apparent from the very first composition on the album, Monadologie XVI “solfeggio” (2011) for solo flute, performed by Manuel Zurria. Lang takes repeating, brief phrases of two, three, four, and seven notes and arranges them in a sequence the linearity of which gives the performance the feel of a minimalist pulse piece come unraveled. By using different phrases and building an increasing sense of urgency into the piece’s narrative arc, Lang introduces an element of variation into and through repetition. (In another working of repetition, Lang takes the piece’s melodic content from a flute etude by Prussian emperor Frederick the Great, himself an accomplished performer on the instrument.) Differenz/Wiederholung 25:…more loops for U. (2014) for solo double bass is more fragmentary in sound than Monadologie XVI, but as the title indicates, is just as reliant on repeated figures. Here these largely take the form of gestures drawn from the instrument’s repertoire of extended techniques: overtones and multiphonics, bow scratches and grinding, drumming on the bass’s body, left-hand pizzicato, and many more. The piece was inspired by electronic dance music and DJing and hence has a loose-jointed but pronounced rhythmic drive. The technical demands on the bassist are extreme; bassist Dario Calderone’s deliberately rough-edged performance is breathtaking. The final piece is Difference/Wiederholung 22 “Winterlicht” (2010), a 25-minute-long duet in which Calderone is joined by Zurria on bass flute. Here too repetitive figures come into play, but the focus is largely on timbral continuity and contrast. As in DW22 the double bass part here makes liberal use of extended technique—as does the bass flute part, although less dramatically—to support and subvert the more melodic flute lines. The soundworld of the piece is unusually rich thanks to the remarkable interplay of the two voices. On a recording like Bass & Flute much hinges on the ability of the performers not only to meet the extreme technical demands of the music, but to provide genuinely musical performances. It comes as no surprise that Zurria and Calderone both certainly do. Rome-based Zurria is a master of contemporary music for his instrument, and Calderone, an Italian-born musician currently living in Amsterdam, is one of the finest double bassists in Europe and indeed anywhere.

https://www.kairos-music.com

Dominy Clements

musicweb international

Austrian composer Bernhard Lang’s music is defined in Wikipedia as “modern contemporary music”, which can mean anything these days, further specified as having roots “in various genres such as 20th-century avant-garde, European classical music, jazz, free jazz, rock, punk, techno, EDM, electronica, electronic music and computer-generated music”, which can also mean anything. These days we can orientate ourselves with as many genres as we like, but in the end the bottom line has to be ‘is this any good?’ or ‘do I like this/does this interest me?’ My interest here is partly as a flute player who these days works mostly on an instrument with the same range as a double bass, but also always as a musician looking out for new combinations and sounds. This programme looks into the ideas of repetition that entered Lang’s work since reading Gilles Deleuze’s philosophical work Diférance et répetition from 1968. Langs music isn’t repetitive in the minimalist sense, but ideas circle and bounce off their own variations with verve and energy, involving the player in physically demanding action and reaction, with the bass player not only vocalising but also engaged in foot stamping during DW25 … more loops for U. ‘DW’ stands for Differenz/Wiederholung, which is the title for a long running series of pieces that examines and explores these ideas of repetition. Rhythm is a strong element in DW25, setting up a kind of ostinato over which the complexities of double stopping and harmonics deliver something that has both the spontaneous feel of an improvisation, while holding on to a strict discipline of structure and compositional focus. The rhythm is broken towards the end of the piece, entering a more ruminative space that ultimately gives way to a reference to the Lutheran hymn Es ist genug, another reflective layer that hints back at some of the wit and humour that flashes by earlier on in this piece. DW22 “Winterlicht” brings double bass and bass flute together in a piece divided into three movements. There are atmospheres and timbres that refer to nocturnal cold throughout the work, though this is at its most extended in the second movement’s stillness and sustained sounds, the air sounds from the bass flute suggesting chill winds as a side-effect of this instrument’s natural sonics. These references give this piece narrative Winterreise associations, though this is not to say that all of the music is suggestive or even static. Lang’s signature rhythmic drive is present in the outer movements, with a folk-like or jazzy groove initiating the third part. Ending with the start of this programme, Monadologie XVI “solfeggio” for flute introduces another series, the Monadologie which is another large scale collection of over forty compositions to date. These pieces are a purposeful recomposing of pre-existing musical material, in this case a flute study by Frederick the Great, a name that will be familiar to all flutists. The original is chopped up and extended with all kinds of modern flute techniques including tongue slaps, singing into the flute and overblowing, and the result is a rhythmically intense and manic etude that was sent back as ‘unplayable’ by the organisers of the flute competition for which it was originally written. Revised in consultation with Manuel Zurria and now dedicated to him, this remains a piece that will be beyond the range of all but the most dedicated of contemporary music players. I’ve become decidedly picky about modern music these days but this is a programme of music that, for me, stimulates on a number of levels. Its avant-garde nature and challenges to the performers are in the service of strong musical ideas and, while serious in concept, this is music that doesn’t take its seriousness too seriously. By this I mean that Lang allows elements into his idiom that have direct connection with the listener, from enjoyable rhythmic pulse and engagement with musical memory to associations with and use of the human voice, while at the same time being uncompromising in terms of his own distinctive vernacular. The instruments are well recorded, though you can hear that Monadologie XVI took a few goes to perfect. Short playing time may be noted, though the experience is intense enough to make you feel ‘full’ by the end.