The Squid's Ear Magazine


Houben, Eva-Maria: Voice With Piano (Edition Wandelweiser Records)

Three compositions for voice and piano from German composer Eva-Maria Houben, also performing on piano with soprano vocalist Irene Kurka--"Adagio" in three pieces; "Lyri"; and "Lieder Fur Die Insel (Songs for the Island)--with texts from poet Felix Timmermans (adagio) and Hilde Domin (lyrik); beautiful, stark, haunting music that presents at its own pace.
 

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product information:

Personnel:



Irene Kurka-soprano

Eva-Maria Houben-piano, composer


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UPC: 4011778040958

Label: Edition Wandelweiser Records
Catalog ID: EWR 1719
Squidco Product Code: 25295

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2017
Country: Germany
Packaging: Cardboard Gatefold 3 Panels
Recorded in Krefeld, Germany, on December 10th, 2016, by Bileam Kumper.

Descriptions, Reviews, &c.

"As much as I love it, I generally find it very difficult to write about Eva-Maria Houben's music. There's an apparent simplicity about it that's air-like; how to describe air currents?

It's also not easy to keep up with her output. Discogs lists 46 releases and I imagine they're missing a few; I have 28 of these and still have a distinct feeling I'm getting a somewhat blurry reading on the real breadth of her work. I'll try to briefly limn the parameters of four recent recordings, knowing most of it will evade any even semi-reasonable description.

[...] As is 'voice with piano', wherein a number of shorter pieces are sung by the extraordinary Irene Kurka, accompanied by Houben. The disc is in three sections: 'adagio' (three pieces), the standalone 'lyrik' and 'lieder für die insel (songs for the island)' (five pieces). Much of the music evokes, to my ears, early music though nothing I could put a finger on. Each of the trio of songs in 'adagio' begins with solo piano, stark and somber but glowing, before Kurka enters--also solo--singing the text by Felix Timmermans, poems dating from 1947, with clarity and strength. She sings, apparently, into the piano--one hears its strings resonating beautifully. A breathtaking set. Hilde Domin (1909-2006) provides the words for 'lyrik'. The music remains dark, Houben striking low, ominous single notes, Kurka singing above though seemingly weighted down by the deep tolling. I'm unfamiliar with Domin's poetry, but her escape from Nazi Germany (her husband's family was murdered there) seems to hang in the air. Houben herself contributes the text of the final set, five pieces lasting three to four minutes each. Keeping with the tenor of the album, the music remains sober; old stone walls, cold to the touch, come to mind. The piano notes are often held for quite a while, mixing with and eventually overtaken by the quietly bristling ambiance. As on 'adagio', the piano begins on its own but this time remains with the voice and after the singing is over. There's a near-symmetry in effect on each song, the piano acting as a kind of floating platform upon which the voice emerges for a few moments, then subsides. Kurka's 'chants' was one of my favorite releases last year; this is bound to be one of this year's top recordings."-Brian Olewnick, Just Outside


Get additional information at Brian Olewnick's Just Outside

Artist Biographies

"Irene Kurka studied voice at the Musikhochschule Munich with Professor Reri Grist, at the Meadows School of the Arts (SMU,Dallas) with Professor Barbara Hill-Moore and at the University of British Columbia (Vancouver, Canada) with Professor Nancy Hermiston.

The multifaceted soprano received many awards and scholarships. She sings recitals, opera and oratorio throughout Germany, Europe and the United States.

Within the realm of contemporary music, she is in great demand; many composers (Eggert, Corbett, Weeks, Muntendorf, Frey, Kampe, Seither, Brass, Beuger, Pisaro etc.) wrote and dedicated new creative output for her to perform as well as record. She has premiered over 140 pieces.

Since 2009 Irene Kurka has focussed intensively on the repertory for unacoompanied voice (Hildegard von Bingen, Nono, Berio, Cage, Bauckholt, Brass, Beuger, Stäbler, etc.) In 2012 she released a CD with music by Hildegard von Bingen and John Cage; this is a co-production with Bayerischer Rundfunk and Wandelweiser Records. 2013 follows with another CD co-production with Bayerischer Rundfunk and Wandelweiser Records; this CD considers the topic of "Prayer" and contains music by Brass, Beuger, Boon, Weeks, Corbett and Houben. After the acclaimed debut of her solo program "Prayer" at the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival in the UK, Irene Kurka has been invited to perform at hcmf//@ l'Auditori in Barcelona. Graham McKenzie, the festival director for both festivals in Huddersfield and Barcelona, was so impressed by the program that he is bring it to the Catalonian metropolis in October 2014.

Ms. Kurka sings with the ensembles e-mex, notabu, musikFabrik, Wandelweiser Ensemble, Klangkonzepte, Schlagquartett Köln, chronophonie, Kölner Vokalsolisten, La Tenerezza, socell 21 and SOPRAKKORDEON.

She has performed, among others, at the Tonhalle Düsseldorf, Kölner Philharmonie, Festival Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Ungarischer Rundfunk Budapest, Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, hcmf//@L'auditori Barcelona, Theater Dortmund, A.DEvantgarde-Festival München, Acht Brücken Festival Köln, Festival Muziek Biennale Niederrhein, scene österreich in nrw, Theater Osnabrück, Globusklänge WM 2006, Ensemblia Mönchengladbach, Randspiele Berlin-Zepernick, MOMENTSMUSICAUX AARAU, Hydra Festival Boston, Oberstdorfer Musiksommer, Greifswalder Bachwoche, Fränkischer Sommer, Neuburger Kammeroper, Bayreuther Barock, Trier OPENING."

-Irene Kurka Website (https://www.irenekurka.de/lebenslauf.html)
2/28/2024

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

"Eva-Maria Houben (born 1955) studied Music Education at Folkwang-Musikhochschule Essen and the organ with Gisbert Schneider. Following her exams she taught both German and Music Education at Secondary School. She received her doctorate and postdoctoral lecturing qualification in musicology and was called for lectures at Gerhard-Mercator-Universität Duisburg and Robert-Schumann-Hochschule Düsseldorf. Since 1993 Professor Houben has been lecturing at Dortmund University`s "Institut für Musik und Musikwissenschaft", with both music theory and contemporary music as her focus. Up to now many books were published, concerning contemporary music, contemporary composers and traditional music, listened to with 'new ears'.

Eva-Maria Houben has been performing works for the organ for more than 30 years. As she is related to the "wandelweiser-group" of composers, her compositions are published by "edition wandelweiser", Haan. Her list of compositions up to now includes works for the organ, piano, clarinet, trombone, violoncello and other solo instruments, works for voice and piano, for wind and chamber ensembles, for orchestra and for voice and orchestra, works for choir (www.wandelweiser.de). She publishes on subjects of contemporary music (Steiner, PFAU, Edition Howeg, bis-label Oldenburg)."

-Eva-Maria Houben Website (http://www.evamariahouben.de/)
2/28/2024

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


Track Listing:



1. Adagio I 2:44

2. Adagio II 2:40

3. Adagio III 3:19

4. Lyrik 4:21

5. Songs For The Island I 4:26

6. Songs For The Island II 4:10

7. Songs For The Island III 4:16

8. Songs For The Island IV 4:34

9. Songs For The Island V 3:00

Related Categories of Interest:


Compositional Forms
European Improvisation and Experimental Forms
Duo Recordings
Piano & Keyboards
Unusual Vocal Forms
New in Compositional Music

Search for other titles on the label:
Edition Wandelweiser Records.


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