Zender: Music to Hear; Litanei; Muji no kyo; Furin no kyo

Our rating 
5.0 out of 5 star rating 5.0

LABELS: Kairos
WORKS: Music to Hear; Litanei; Muji no kyo; Furin no kyo
PERFORMER: Julie Moffat (soprano), Johan Leutgeb (voice), Eva Furrer, Katrina Emtage (flute), Donna Wagner Molinari (clarinet), Annette Bik (violin), Florian Müller (piano), Andreas Lindenbaum, Benedikt Leitner, Roland Schueler (cello); Klangforum Wien/Hans Zender
Hans Zender (born in 1936) is one of a number of contemporary European composers whose works undertake an inquiry into the nature of musical communication, and a radical rethinking of musical materials: for example, challenging the ubiquity of equal temperament with glissandi and microtones. However, as an experienced orchestral conductor, he also appreciates the need to engage an audience with sonorities, textures and lines which are themselves interesting and even beautiful – to approach the brain, as it were, through the ears. On this disc, two works from the mid-Seventies, Muji no kyo for soloists and ensemble and Litanei for three cellos, already show Zender’s distinctive blend of the intellectual and the meditative. Two more recent pieces for soprano and ensemble are highly imaginative responses to texts actually about hearing and understanding: in Furin no kyo (1988-9) a Japanese ‘wind bell song’, set in several languages; in Music to Hear (1998) Shakespeare’s Sonnet No. 8. The English-born soprano Julie Moffat shows impressive steadiness of pitch and flexibility of attack; and all the members of Klangforum Wien sound assured and sympathetically attuned to the composer’s direction. Excellent recordings and helpful, though imperfectly translated notes contribute to this valuable portrait


of a composer of some significance. Anthony Burton