COMPOSERS: Eotvos,Hilario,Prudencio & Mochizuki,Taborda
LABELS: Col legno
ALBUM TITLE: Collection: Donaueschinger Musiktage
PERFORMER: Soloists; Varianti/Manfred Schreier, Orquesta Experimental de Instrumentos Nativos, La Paz/Cergio Prudencio, Baden-Baden & Freiburg SWR SO/Sylvain Cambreling
CATALOGUE NO: WWE 2CD 20075
Despite triumphs there last century of Messiaen’s Chronochromie and Stockhausen’s Mantra, new music from the venerable Donaueschingen Music Days has always been a mixed bag, and this five-piece set taken from the 1999 festival yields no masterpieces. Even so, two of the works, Cergio Prudencio’s Cantos crepusculares for Bolivian folk instruments and Misato Mochizuki’s Camera lucida exceed their brief to provide burnt offerings on the altar of institutionalised modernism. Camera lucida, especially, influenced by Sixties Pop Art, engages mind and ear on a number of levels without compromise, and seems set for wider horizons.
Others, however, fall foul of the modernist curse of the missing middle ground. Between the Varèse-like gestures to the fore in Alan Hilario’s Early 70s, Three Scenes in Brooklyn Street, Cubao, for example, and its background rhythm of slowly changing expectation, connections feel tenuous. Much the same holds true for Tato Taborda’s Estratos, also Bolivian-based, and in its better parts sounding generously inspired by a more brilliantly cohesive essay on a similar subject, George Benjamin’s Antara. Almost a traditional craft-work by comparison, Peter Eötvös’s As I Crossed a Bridge of Dreams proves melodrama’s loss to be Donaueschingen’s gain. Claire Bloom recites elegantly. Nicholas Williams