Two works from two distinctive composers from different periods--Jurg Frey and Luigi Nono--both for two violins, Frey using the two violins in parallel to emphasize their distinction; Nono using powerful gestures of divergence and contrast in a dream-like duo.
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Label: Edition Wandelweiser Records
Catalog ID: EWR 0103
Squidco Product Code: 23046
Packaging: Cardboard Gatefold 3 Panels
Recorded at Hohenferchesar, Germany, in July, 1998, by Peter Hecker.
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1. Ohne Titel (2 Violinen) 1995/96 26:20
2. Hay Que Caminar Sognado 1 1989 6:40
3. Hay Que Caminar Sognado 2 1989 11:24
4. Hay Que Caminar Sognado 3 1989 10:58
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"Ohne Titel (Zwei Violinen) is emblematic for much of Jurg Frey's work, because here, as elsewhere, the idea of two runs very deep. A piece begins with something - some group of similar sounds, or some manner of performance; and then, without warning, reason, or justification, simply changes to something else. These are moments in which all lies open, where the imminent need to decide threatens to become almost a kind of panic.
In Ohne Titel (Zwei Violinen) 'two' means not just two moments in time (i.e., before and after), but two persons. Throughout most of the piece the players play the same part, exactly the same notes. And here there is an interesting principle: the more similar the musicians actually sound, the more one senses their separation. This implies that, in this work, two is most visible at the border of one, where an infinite proximity reveals a fundamental difference.
How strange and interesting that this kind of music would be 'paired' with Nono's duo "Hay que caminar" sognando ! Every thing in this piece seems to move from one extreme to the other: by leaps or sudden contrasts. In each case the physical limit of the instrument is approached in way that suggests that the music would continue, beyond the realm of the physical and audible. With the emphasis on boundaries, we are strongly directed towards a metaphorical kind of space, enclosed not with walls but with windows, which allow us a view to the horizon.
And still, this music is a song. But this song either speaks with gestures of great intensity or hardly at all. There is just the slightest echo of melody: Verdi's 'scala enigmatica', itself an echo of melody. In this piece we hear song as pure longing, reaching for something that will forever remain just out of our grasp."-Michael Pisaro
• Show Bio for Luigi Nono
"Luigi Nono, (born Jan. 29, 1924, Venice, Italy-died May 8, 1990, Venice), leading Italian composer of electronic, aleatory, and serial music.
Nono began his musical studies in 1941 at the Venice Conservatory. He then studied law at the University of Padua, receiving a doctorate there, while at the same time studying with the prominent avant-garde composer Bruno Maderna and the noted conductor Hermann Scherchen. He came to public attention in 1950 with his work Variazioni Canoniche, orchestral variations on a 12-tone theme of Arnold Schoenberg, whose daughter Nuria he married in 1955. He continued to explore avant-garde techniques and lectured widely in Europe and the United States. He also taught at the New Music Summer School at the Kranichsteiner Music Institute in Darmstadt, Ger..
Nono's music is distinguished by its clarity of form. Polyphony (simultaneous melodic lines), monophony (melody without harmony), and rhythm are explored in a straightforward manner in his Polifonica-monodia-ritmica for seven instruments (1951). The Suspended Song (1955-56), a serial setting for voices, chorus, and orchestra of letters written by victims of Nazism, passes its melody among the instruments and voices with each performer rarely playing more than a single note at a time. Nono also adopted this technique of fragmentation in several works involving voices and percussion. Per Bastiana Tai-yang Cheng (1967), based on a Chinese folk song and celebrating the birth of the Nonos' daughter, is somewhat aleatoric and calls for three instrumental groups playing in quarter tones and for magnetic tape.
An avowed Communist, Nono often produced works of political substance, many of which sparked controversy and reaction. When his opera Intolleranza 1960, which Nono referred to as a "mural," premiered in Venice in 1961, the performance was stormed by neofascists, causing a riot with the communists. The work attacked fascism, the atom bomb, and segregation and ended in a symbolic fashion in which the world is flooded and destroyed. The opera was later revised as Intolleranza 1970.
La Scala in Milan commissioned a new opera from Nono in the early 1970s. Al Gran Sole Carico d'Amore (1972-75; "In the Great Sun of Blooming Love") took its title from a poem by Arthur Rimbaud, "Les Mains de Jeanne-Marie," and is about the Paris Commune of 1871. Its theme was devoted to the class struggle, with no conventional plot or characters, and showed the influence of Arnold Schoenberg's pre-World War I Expressionism. The opera did not, however, premier at La Scala but at Teatro Lirico. La Scala produced a revised version in 1978.
Nono was greatly inspired by the Spanish poet Federico García Lorca and wrote Der Rote Mantel (1954; "The Red Overcoat") based on one of his poems. His Epitaffio per Federico García Lorca (1952) was hailed as a major work and is a set of three pieces in memory of Lorca. Other politically inspired works include the dramatic cantata Sul ponte di Hiroshima (1962; "On the Bridge of Hiroshima"), dealing with the implications of nuclear warfare; Ein Gespenst geht um in der Welt (1971; "A Spirit Haunts the World"), a setting for voice and orchestra of The Communist Manifesto; and Canto per il Vietnam (1973; "A Song for Vietnam"). A longtime member of the Italian Communist Party, Nono was elected to its Central Committee in 1975 and remained a member until his death. His later works include A Pierre: Dell'azzurro silenzio, inquietum for bass flute, contrabass clarinet, and live electronics (1985) and No hay caminos, hay que caminar, a tribute to the director Andrey Tarkovsky, for orchestra (1987)."-Britannica Website (https://www.britannica.com/biography/Luigi-Nono)
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• Show Bio for Jurg Frey
"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)
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• Show Bio for Joanna Becker
"Joanna Becker began her violin studies at the age of three. She was fortunate to have as models her grandmother, a violinist and teacher, as well as parents who are professional musicians. Her early training included studies with Albert Markov at the Manhattan School of Music, and she received her Bachelor's Degree in Music with distinction in the major at Yale University, where she studied violin with Kyung Yu. She completed a year-long Suzuki teacher training course at the School for Strings in Manhattan, and also studied musicology at Hunter College of the City University of New York. Joanna recently completed her Master's Degree in Violin Performance at the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University, where she was a student of Sergiu Luca and Ken Goldsmith and served as concertmaster of the Shepherd School Chamber Orchestra and Symphony Orchestra.
Joanna has been a member of the violin faculty at the Neighborhood Music School and of the New Haven Symphony Orchestra. In 2011-12 she was selected as a Young Artist by Da Camera of Houston. An avid chamber musician and recitalist, she has a particular interest in stylistic performances of Classic and Baroque repertoire as well as contemporary chamber music. Recent international performances include recitals at the International Holland Music Sessions, and a concerto appearance with the National Symphony of Quito, Ecuador. She currently resides in Houston."-TNME.org (http://www.tnme.org/featured-performers/)
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• Show Bio for Clemens Merkel
"Clemens Merkel's unconventional sound defines a new sensibility in contemporary music, through its intimate purity of tone, its settled understanding of microtonal or unconventional harmonic language, and its unhurried sensitivity. He is well known for innovative interpretations of Bach and John Cage, and is sought after by composers worldwide as an inspiration for new repertoire. His diverse collaborators range from the Wandelweiser collective to Montréal's Musique Actuelle community, and from emerging experimentalists to today's most revered composers.
For over a decade, Merkel's unusual sound has fused with that of the Quatuor Bozzini, considered one of the world's leading string quartets. Together they have mentored an entire generation of creators through the Composer's Kitchen; have released numerous critically acclaimed albums on their collection qb label; undertake multiple tours annually to be featured at festivals worldwide; and maintain a profound impact on the music scene across Canada and Europe in particular. They nourish Montréal audiences with unusual self-produced events that bridge worlds and cross boundaries of style, generation and culture.
Following an early career in Europe, where he contributed to the continent's leading ensembles, Merkel has made Montréal his home since 2000. He supports and advocates for new music in Québec and in Canada, and is regularly sought after as speaker, curator and adviser. His presence is felt in academia as well, through articles written for the Revue Circuit, and through his teaching at Concordia University. He's a passionate chef and lives in Montréal's Portuguese neighborhood together with his wife Isabelle Bozzini and children Félix and Béatrice."-Quatuor Bozzini website (http://www.quatuorbozzini.ca/en/select/bio/?id=merkel_cl)
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