The Squid's Ear Magazine


Frey, Jurg / Apartment House: String Trio (Another Timbre)

Reworking a piece for string trio originally commissioned by the Concertgebouw Brugge and premiered by the Goeyvaerts Trio as part of the 2019 SLOW Festival, this new version expands on the original composition to bring elegant calmness and clarity to the work, performed by UK's Apartment House members Mira Benjamin on violin, Bridget Carey on viola and Anton Lukoszevieze on cello.
 

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Personnel:



Jurg Frey-composer

Mira Benjamin-violin

Bridget Carey-viola

Anton Lukoszevieze-cello


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Label: Another Timbre
Catalog ID: at217
Squidco Product Code: 34094

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2023
Country: UK
Packaging: Cardboard Gatefold
Recorded at Goldsmiths Recording Studio, in London, UK, in May, 2023, by Simon Reynell.

Descriptions, Reviews, &c.

Another Timbre Interview with Jürg Frey



Can you tell us the history of your String Trio?

I wrote the piece on a commission from the Concertgebouw Brugge, and it was premiered by the Goeyvaerts Trio as part of the 2019 SLOW Festival. The trio played the piece again after the festival, but I always had the feeling that it hadn't yet arrived at its final destination. So when the plan emerged to have Apartment House record the trio, I sat down again and worked some more on the piece.

It's not the first time I've re-worked 'finished' pieces. This is mainly due to my basic way of working, which knows no compositional system, and the procedure is also unsystematic. This means that everything takes a long time. It's a slow process of emergence, of omission, of developments. It feels like a slow but natural process which I can't accelerate at will. And this process leads in the end to a clear, in itself calm architecture of the composition. A calmness that is not least connected with the fact that the compositional questions have now been clarified.



Like a lot of your music, the trio has a strong melancholic streak - especially the final minutes, which I find almost painfully sad. Are you particularly drawn to melancholy, or is the emotional effect of your music not something which you consider when you are composing and working out how a piece should develop?

I am always very much concerned with questions of material when I compose. And I think one of the reasons for my preoccupation with material is that it allows me to develop a kind of resistance to slipping too easily into a melancholic streak. I don't resist it in an uptight way, but I try to look at the material as a neutral thing, and then under the surface it acquires those colours that characterise my music.

Does the trio have any tonal or modal centre? To my ears all the notes sound so 'right' that I can hardly believe that you're not using some kind of system.

If 'system' means making systematic preparations and developing a system before composing that can serve as a guideline in the work, then no, there is no system. It's more an empirical procedure. For example, I had the idea that the piece should begin with a repeated note in the cello over a period of time. But the fact that this low 'E' in the cello then sounds on and on for almost nine minutes was no system-related idea; it simply emerged from the work. Of course, I found it thrilling during this work when I realised that it became possible to leave the cello on the 'E' for so long.

And then arise questions of architecture, emotionality, energies, context and dimensions in a piece. All this makes the work process so exciting and lively. So at the end of the repetitions the cello descends two notes, and this motif then becomes the material for the continuation, and later comes this short motif with the fast notes. It's hard to describe this as a system. But it would also be too easy for me to say 'you just have to make the right decisions at the right place in the piece'. For me it's mainly a matter of the ear, of listening, and a matter of feeling, to figure out how things go together. And here it's obvious that this long 'E' in the cello, and later the 'C#' in the cello, become an influence on the tonal atmosphere through the whole piece.



For what it's worth, I find the String Trio stunningly beautiful, and like it as much as anything you've written. Do you have favourite pieces of your own? Or is it impossible to think of your own creations in that sort of way?

The piece is also very special to me in that it's the first time that I've listened to a piece again and again after finishing the editing. I should say that I'm used to listening to recordings of my own pieces, but never so often as with the String Trio. I don't know why this happened, but one thing I hear in the piece: it's a (maybe even perfect) balance between anonymity and personality. And that results in music that ultimately remains inexplicable even to me.


Artist Biographies

"Jürg Frey was born in 1953 in Aarau, Switzerland. Following his musical education at the Concervatoire de Musique de Genève, he turned to a career as a clarinetist, but his activities as composer soon came to the foreground. Frey developed his own language as a composer and sound artist with the creation of wide, quiet sound spaces. His work is marked by an elementary non-extravagence of sound, a sensibilty for the qualities of the material, and precision of compositional approach. His compositions sometimes bypass instrumentation and duration altogether and touch on aspects of sound art. He has worked with compositional series, as well as with language and text. Some of these activities appear in small editions or as artist's books as individual items and small editions (Edition Howeg, Zurich; weiss kunstbewegung, Berlin; complice, Berlin). His music and recordings are published by Edition Wandelweiser. Frey has been invited to workshops as visiting composer and for composer portraits at the Universität der Künste Berlin, the Universität Dortmund and several times at Northwestern University and CalArts. Some of the other places his work has developed are the concerts at the Kunstraum Düsseldorf, the Wandelweiser-in-Residence-Veranstaltungen in Vienna, the Ny music concerts in Boras (Sweden), the cooperation with Cologne pianist John McAlpine, the Bozzini Quartet (Montréal), QO-2 (Bruxelles), Die Maulwerker, incidental music, as well as the regular stays in Berlin (where during the last years many of his compositions were premiered). Frey is a member of the Wandelweiser Komponisten Ensemble which has presented concerts for more than 15 years in Europe, North America and Japan. Frey also organizes the concert series moments musicaux aarau as a forum for contemporary music."

-Other Minds (http://www.otherminds.org/shtml/Frey.shtml)
2/28/2024

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.

"Mira Benjamin is a Canadian violinist, researcher and new-music instigator.

She performs new and experimental music, with a special interest in microtonality & tuning practice. She actively commissions music from composers at all stages of their careers, and develops each new work through multiple performances. Current collaborations include new works by Anna Höstman, Scott McLaughlin, Amber Priestley, Taylor Brook and James Weeks.

Since 2011, Mira has co-directed NU:NORD - a project-based music and performance network which instigates artistic exchanges and encourages community building between music creators from Canada, Norway & the UK. To date NU:NORD has engaged 79 artists and commissioned 62 new works. Through this initiative, Mira hopes to offer a foundation from which Canadian artists can reach out to artistic communities overseas, and provide a conduit through which UK & Norwegian artists can access Canada's rich art culture.

Originally from Vancouver, British Columbia, Mira lived for ten years in Montréal, where she was a member of Quatuor Bozzini. Since 2014 she has resided in London (UK), where she regularly performs with ensembles such as Apartment House, Decibel, and the London Contemporary Orchestra Soloists, and is currently the Duncan Druce Scholar in Music Performance at the University of Huddersfield.

Mira is the recipient of the 2016 Virginia Parker Prize from the Canada Council for the Arts. The prize is awarded annually to a Canadian musician in recognition of their contribution to the artistic life in Canada and internationally."

-St. Martin in the Field Website (http://mirabenjamin.com/about/)
2/28/2024

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.

"Bridget Carey studied jointly at the Royal Academy of Music and London University and has pursued a varied freelance career based in London, and has developed a particular reputation in the field of new music.

For 15 years she premiered new chamber opera for the Almeida, whilst working in dance scores with Siobhan Davies and Rambert companies, classical contemporary with Opus 20 and Music Projects/London and new complexity with Ensemble Expose. From 1995-2005 she was viola player with the Kreutzer string quartet. More recently, her chamber music interests include Okeanos and the RPS award-winning experimental music group Apartment House, with whom she continues to add to her chamber music discography. She has been a member of Britten Sinfonia for the last 20 years, and is a regular guest with London Sinfonietta and BCMG, among others."

-Okeanos Website (http://okeanos.co.uk/wp/?page_id=1017)
2/28/2024

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.

"Cellist Anton Lukoszevieze (born 1965 in the UK) is one of the most diverse performers of his generation and is notable for his performances of avant-garde, experimental and improvised music. Anton has given many performances at numerous international festivals throughout Europe and the USA (Maerzmusik, Donaueschingen, Wien Modern, GAS, Transart, Ultima, etc.etc.). He has also made frequent programmes and broadcasts for BBC Radio 3, Danish Radio, SR2, Sweden, Deutschland Rundfunk, WDR, Germany and ORT, Austria. Deutschlandfunk, Berlin produced a radio portrait of him in September, 2003. Anton has also performed concerti with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra at the 2001 Aldeburgh festival and the Netherlands Radio Symphony Orchestra. He has collaborated with many composers and performers including David Behrman, Alvin Lucier, Amnon Wolman, Pierre Strauch, Rytis Mazulis, Karlheinz Essl, Helmut Oehring, Christopher Fox, Philip Corner, Alvin Curran, Phill Niblock and Laurence Crane, He is unique in the UK through his use of the curved bow (BACH-Bogen), which he is using to develop new repertoire for the cello. From 2005-7 he was New Music Fellow at Kings College, Cambridge and Kettles Yard Gallery. Anton is the subject of four films (FoxFire Eins) by the renowned artist-filmmaker Jayne Parker. A new film Trilogy with compositions by Sylvano Bussotti, George Aperghis and Laurence Crane premieres at The London Film Festival, October 2008. In November will premiere a new hour long work by Christopher Fox for cello and the vocal ensemble Exaudi commissioned by the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival and will also present new solo works for cello and live electronics. Anton is also active as an artist, his work has been shown in Holland (Lux Nijmegen), CAC, Vilnius, Duisburg (EarPort), Austria, (Sammlung Essl), Wien Modern, The Slade School of Art, Kettles Yard Gallery, Cambridge Film Festival and Rational Rec. London. His work has been published in Musiktexte, Cologne, design Magazine and the book SoundVisions (Pfau-Verlag, Saarbrucken, 2005). Anton Lukoszevieze is founder and director of the ensemble Apartment House, a member of the radical noise group Zeitkratzer and recently made his contemporary dance debut with the Vincent Dance Company in Broken Chords, Dusseldorf."

-Kalvos Damian (http://www.kalvos.org/lukosze.html)
2/28/2024

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.


Track Listing:



1. String Trio 47:19

Related Categories of Interest:


Compositional Forms
Stringed Instruments
Quartet Recordings
Chamber Rock
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