Xenakis, Henze, Tanaka, Carter, Deane, Huber & Reifeneder

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

COMPOSERS: Carter,Deane,Henze,Huber & Reifeneder,Tanaka,Xenakis
LABELS: Koch Schwann
ALBUM TITLE: Collection: Works for Percussion Solo
WORKS: Works
PERFORMER: Peter Sadlo (percussion)
CATALOGUE NO: 3-6569-2
Whether the young Italian percussionist Jonathan Faralli’s excellent new disc features the ‘most important’ solo percussion works of the late 20th century (as the booklet note claims) is certainly open to debate: Reginald Smith Brindle’s Orion M 42 is an evocative sound-picture of a star cloud, pleasant but hardly ground-breaking, while John Cage’s Cartridge Music is actually scored for any instruments. But Faralli proves himself an exceptionally gifted performer, conjuring a bewildering variety of sounds and textures from often very simple resources. He clearly relishes the witty interplay of motifs in Stockhausen’s seminal Zyklus, while the three movements from Elliott Carter’s Eight Pieces for Timpani become showpieces for his finely judged technique. He’s helped by a crystal-clear, generous recording, and it’s no surprise that this disc has been chosen for parallel release as one of the first DVD audio CDs (Arts 47558-6, playable on DVD video rather than audio players).

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Two of the Carter pieces also turn up on Peter Sadlo’s recital, although his rather deliberate playing, as well as some clumsy metric modulations, make for unrewarding listening. Henze’s intense Five Scenes from the Snow Country for solo marimba and Xenakis’s classic Rebonds, sounding like some giant clock dividing time in ever more complex ways, fare rather better, although the recording tends to be dull and unflattering. David Kettle