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Frey, Jurg

Outermost Melodie [2 CDs]

Frey, Jurg: Outermost Melodie [2 CDs] (Another Timbre)

Contemporary percussionist Ian Antonio (Wet Ink, Talujon Percussion Ensemble, Zs, Yarn/Wire) performs seven works for percussion by composer Jürg Frey written between 1994 and 2022, joined by members of the Talujon for one piece, though mostly a solo and very personal album for the percussionist, who has been influenced by Frey's approach to stillness and harmony.

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Jurg Frey-composer

David Cossin-performer

Ian Antonio-percussion

Matt Ward-performer

Tom Kolor-performer

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Label: Another Timbre
Catalog ID: at226x2
Squidco Product Code: 35039

Format: 2 CDs
Condition: New
Released: 2024
Country: UK
Packaging: Cardboard Gatefold
Recorded by David Cossin.

Descriptions, Reviews, &c.

Another Timbre Interview with Ian Antonio

Could you tell us something about your own background as a musician?

I grew up in a musical family in upstate New York just outside of the state capital, Albany. My mother taught elementary school music and my father was a band director in the city school district. Perhaps most consequentially, my father is also a percussionist, so it seemed perfectly normal that we had drums, xylophones, marimbas, and all manner of other instruments around the house. There was constant traffic of percussion students coming in and out, too, and I've been told I would watch the lessons through the small window in the back door while my father taught.

I was drawn to classical music fairly early, and unlike a lot of percussionists, I only learned to play drumset much later on. I played in the local youth orchestra and percussion ensemble and went to college with the dream of someday joining an orchestra. While studying in New York City, I ended up becoming friends with composers, jazz musicians, and other artists who were more interested in new and experimental music, and I found myself drawn to that world and the sounds in it. While I still enjoy the classics of the repertoire, I've been pretty immersed in the world of contemporary music for the past several decades.

Am I right that you also play - or played - with both Wet Ink and Yarn/Wire, two of the most highly-rated groups for contemporary music in the USA? I imagine that was exhilarating and exhausting in equal measure. Could you tell us a bit more about that side of things?

Absolutely. The four ensembles I've been most closely associated with are Wet Ink, Yarn/Wire, Talujon, and Zs. I presently play with and co-direct Wet Ink - a composer / performer collective, and Talujon - a percussion ensemble. Yarn/Wire is a piano percussion quartet, still very active, that I co-founded in 2005 and performed with until 2020. Zs is a band that I played with from 2003-2012. And then there is a host of other performing ensembles that I formerly played with frequently: Theatre of a Two-headed Calf, International Contemporary Ensemble, SEM Ensemble, Talea Ensemble, and many more. These are all groups in the New York City contemporary music, or slightly adjacent, ecosystem, and you're correct - both an exhilarating and sometimes exhausting lifestyle. There were stretches of time where I learned over 100 new pieces of music each year and juggled a performance calendar that barely accommodated practice much less a personal/interior life. But I wouldn't trade that time for anything. My own personal aesthetics have been so thoroughly influenced by my friends and colleagues in these groups that I can't imagine what I would be doing today without spending so much time in rehearsal, on the road, and in performance.

Now that I have a more full-time academic role and two younger daughters, my performance calendar is far less dense. Because of this space, I've found I need to truly interrogate what directions to pursue by myself. This album of Jürg's music is one of the first truly personal projects I've worked on in years.

When and how did you discover Jürg's music, and what drew you to it?

The first time I heard Jürg's music was on Soundcloud. I can't remember when, maybe about 15 years ago, but the algorithm would always send me from whatever I was listening to the same Jürg Frey piece which I loved. I can't recall what it was now, maybe "Circular Music No. 2", but I do remember that I wouldn't notice the piece starting but then realize I was in fact listening to it closely. The stillness and closeness and warmth were somewhat new to me at that point in my life. At that time I was playing a lot of very loud and often very fast music and this was something very much the opposite. That said, I didn't start to play any of Jürg's music until more recently. It might have been a product of a geographic/professional shift, the pandemic, or maybe just evolving interests, but the past few years have just felt like the right time for me to work on Jürg's music as a performer.

Several of the pieces on the album were written over twenty years ago. Do you feel there's a difference between pieces such as 'Glafsered I', 'Die meisten Sachen...', 'Metal, Stone' and 'Jemandem bei einer Taglichkeit...' and the more recent pieces?

I have the pieces arranged by date in the music reading application on my ipad, so I suppose I've always been thinking of them on a sort of chronological and stylistic continuum. The earliest pieces I played, 'Jemandem bei einer Taglichkeit...' and 'Die meisten Sachen...' seem to be somewhat "operational" in that a system is set up and then put in motion. Or at least that is how I approached their performance. The pivot, in my mind, is in 'Glafsered 1' and 'Metal, Stone', where there is a bit more vertical orientation and perhaps a more expressive edge to the pieces. I feel this is especially true in 'Glafsered 1', which was the first of these pieces I worked on and performed. Both 'Gewicht, Luft, Farbe' and 'Tender Outermost Melodies' seem even more evocative to me. Perhaps because they are "bigger" pieces and cover more timbral ground, but also in the way they use space and, in the case of 'Gewicht, Luft, Farbe', a very clear and rare use of harmony in this collection of percussive pieces.

Yes, I think that's right, that the recent works are more expressive, and that 'Glafsered I' and 'Metal, Stone' are pivots in this gradual stylistic shift in Jürg's music. If you were used to playing much louder and faster music, I suppose this is quite a change, but is there a kind of 'virtuosity of restraint' (to use John Tilbury's phrase) in playing music like Jürg's?

I do like the phrase 'virtuosity of restraint' but I'm not sure I ever thought about restraint as a feature of the performance of Jürg's music. Perhaps the pieces sound restrained, but as a performer I am primarily concerned with accurately representing what Jürg wrote. Everything is right there on the page - tempos, rests, dynamics, articulations, and each individual note. Jürg does not use repeat signs, even when it would certainly save time in the notation process. So I feel like the challenge in performing the music of this album is to properly execute the figures and gestures that develop in the practice of each piece. For example, the opening passage of 'Metal, Stone' is not traditionally difficult but the transparency of the music raises the stakes dramatically, or at least in my performer's mind. Is my time consistent? Are the different instruments speaking at a more-or-less uniform dynamic even though the distances between them and the metal compositions and resonances of each instrument are slightly different? I suppose there is just very little between the making of each sound and the listener, and that is where any virtuosity might emerge.

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 (

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"David Cossin was born and raised in Queens, NY, and studied classical percussion at the Manhattan School of Music. His interest in classical percussion, drum set, non-western hand drumming, composition, and improvisation has led to performances across a broad spectrum of musical and artistic forms. David has recorded and performed internationally with Steve Reich and Musicians, Philip Glass, Yo-Yo Ma, Meredith Monk, Tan Dun, Cecil Taylor, Talujon Percussion Quartet, and the trio Real Quiet, as well as with Sting on his Symphonicity world tour. Theater work includes Blue Man Group, Mabou Mines, and projects with the director Peter Sellars. David was featured as the solo percussionist in Tan Dun's award-winning score to the film Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. As a soloist, he has performed with orchestras throughout the world including the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Orchestra Radio France, and more. His sonic installations have been presented in New York, Italy and Germany, and he is also an active producer, composer, and instrument inventor, expanding the limits of traditional percussion. David teaches percussion at the Aaron Copland School of Music and the Manhattan School of Music's Contemporary Performance Program."

-Bang on a Can (

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"Percussionist Ian Antonio's breadth of experience - concertizing across four continents with a wide variety of chamber ensembles, orchestras, experimental rock bands, avant-garde theatre companies, and as a soloist, conductor, and educator - has led him to develop a unique sound and approach to both performing and teaching.

Ian is a founding member of the piano percussion quartet Yarn/Wire. Hailed as "mesmerizing and dynamic" by the New York Times, the ensemble is known for the energy and precision it brings to performances of today's most adventurous music. Yarn/Wire has appeared at prestigious venues across the globe, including Lincoln Center, Brooklyn Academy of Music, Library of Congress, Edinburgh International Festival, Barbican Centre, and Shanghai Symphony Hall. The ensemble has held residencies at institutions such as Columbia University, Harvard University, Stanford University, and ISSUE Project Room, among many others. In 2016, Yarn/Wire won 1st Prize / Open at the University of Michigan's inaugural M-Prize, the largest chamber music competition in the world. The ensemble has premiered over one hundred new works, released nine albums, and continually advocates for this exciting emerging repertoire.

Ian is a core member of the Wet Ink Ensemble, a collective of composers and performers. Formerly the Ensemble-in-Residence at Duke University, Wet Ink most commonly performs as a septet comprised of a core group of composer-performers that collaborate in a band-like fashion, writing, improvising, preparing, and touring pieces together over long stretches of time. This approach, honed over 20 years, has led to an incomparable body of work marked by a keenly developed performance practice, played in concert with ferocity, commitment, and expressivity. In demand at both domestic and international venues, Wet Ink's performances "combine striking stylistic and aesthetic assurance with technical perfection." (Dissonanz Switzerland)

Ian is also a member of the percussion ensemble Talujon. The group's sextet configuration allows Talujon to produce large-scale and oft-neglected percussive masterworks as well as new pieces written for the ensemble. Described by the New York Times as possessing an "edgy, unflagging energy", the ensemble has been championing percussive music for well over two decades. Since joining the group in 2011, Ian has performed with Talujon at the Metropolitation Museum of Art, Bang on a Can Marathon, BAM Next Wave Festival, and elsewhere across the country.

From 2003-2012 Ian was a member of the difficult-to-categorize trio Zs. With Zs, Ian toured both domestically and abroad, recorded extensively, and made composed / improvised "conceptual art objects that set form and content against each other - like, say, a perfect birthday cake made out of sawdust, or a perfect hammer made out of bird feathers." (New York Times) Equally at home in lofts, basements, galleries, and festivals, Ian performed with Zs at many prominent jazz festivals including the Germany's Moers Festival, Switzerland's Jazz Festival Willislau, and Tokyo's Club Unit. The band's 2010 album, New Slaves, was named Album of the Year by Tiny Mix Tapes and appeared on numerous best-of lists.

Ian is currently a member of the faculty at Purchase College where he teaches private lessons, rep class, and a hand drumming workshop, among other duties. He also leads percussion activities for the Norwalk Youth Symphony program. In past years, Ian has been on faculty and guest lectured at Stony Brook University, Adelphi University, Montclair State University, Franklin Pierce University, 92nd Street Y, Henry Street Settlement, and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs.

Ian has recorded over 40 albums for the Nonesuch, Kairos, Warp, Tzadik, Carrier, Social Registry, Populist, Distributed Objects, Planaria, Sockets, Hot Cup, Quiet Design, and Three One G record labels, among others. He has also performed with the International Contemporary Ensemble, Theatre of a Two-Headed Calf, SEM Ensemble, Argento Chamber Ensemble, Albany Symphony, Boston Symphony, BBC Symphony Orchestra, London Sinfonettia, Los Angeles Philharmonic, and worked with composers, conductors, and soloists such as Seigi Ozawa, Kurt Masur, Charles Dutoit, Mstislav Rostropovich, Yefim Bronfman, Helmut Lachenmann, Enno Poppe, John Adams, and Kaija Saariaho.

Ian was born in 1981 and grew up in Albany, NY, studying percussion with Richard Albagli and performing with the Empire State Youth Orchestra and Percussion Ensemble. He moved to New York City to attend the Manhattan School of Music and study with James Preiss, Duncan Patton, Christopher Lamb, Eric Charleston, and Claire Heldrich. Ian completed his studies with Eduardo Leandro at Stony Brook University. Ian holds a B.M. from the Manhattan School of Music and an M.M. and D.M.A. from Stony Brook University. He has also attended the Tanglewood Music Center and Yellow Barn festivals. At Night Music publishes Ian's music, including solos for marimba, percussion ensembles, and audition pieces. Ian proudly plays Pearl/Adams instruments, Paiste cymbals and gongs, uses Vic Firth sticks and mallets, and Black Swamp accessories."

-Ian Antonio Website (

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"Matt Ward is dedicated to performing and commissioning new music and has been cited by the New York Times as "a fine soloist". With a particular interest in chamber music, he is a principal member with the Argento Chamber Ensemble, Talujon, the American Modern Ensemble, Associated Solo Artists and is also the co-founder of the percussion trio Timetable. Professor Ward also performs regularly with groups such as the Albany Symphony, SEM Ensemble, The Orchestra of the League of Composers, Sequitor and the Riverside Symphony. Dr. Ward was the recipient of the Ridley-Tree Fellowship at the Music Academy of the West in 1998, and in 1999 he participated in the Tanglewood Music Center under the direction of Seiji Ozawa and George Benjamin and returned the following year for the American Premiere of Pierre Boulez's Sur Incises at the 60th Anniversary TMC Alumni Concert. Recent performance highlights include the American Premieres of works by Bernhard Lang, Georg Friedrich Haas, and Philippe Hurel.

Matt Ward began studying conducting as the student director of the Stony Brook Contemporary Chamber Players and in residence at the Bang On a Can Summer Music Festival. Since then, he has premiered new works by Phillipe Manoury, Lawrence Moss, Ross Bauer, Meyer Kupferman, Barbara White, Sebastian Armoza and many other young composers. He is also a regular guest conductor with the International Contemporary Ensemble, Wet Ink, Ensemble Inc., DaCapo Chamber Players and the New York New Music Ensemble, premiering dozens of new pieces by young composers every year.

Professor Ward holds a BM degree from the Manhattan School of Music and a MM and DMA degree from SUNY Stony Brook. He is on faculty at Queens College, The Aaron Copland School of Music and Brooklyn College. Through organizations such as the 92nd Street Y, Westchester Philharmonic, Marquis Studios, and Carnegie Hall, Dr. Ward has worked with elementary school children throughout New York City and the surrounding area. He can be heard on the recording labels Aeon, Argo, Cantaloupe Music, Capstone Records, Newport Classics, Soundspell, and Albany Records."

-Aaron Copland School of Music (

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"Tom Kolor (percussion) specializes in 20th and 21st century music, and holds degrees from William Paterson University and the Juilliard School. He is currently an adjunct professor at Purchase College and William Paterson University. Kolor is a member of Talujon Percussion, Columbia Sinfonietta, Ensemble 21, Sospeso, American Modern Ensemble, Newband, and New Jersey Percussion Ensemble. He is a frequent guest of such ensembles as New York New Music Ensemble, Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Speculum Musicae, Continuum, Da Capo Chamber Players, Group for Contemporary Music, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, and the Orchestra of St. Luke's. As a soloist, Kolor has given dozens of premieres by such composers as Milton Babbitt, John Zorn, Wayne Peterson, Tania Leon, and Jerome Kitzke, and has recorded for Bridge, New World, Albany, Capstone, Innova, Wergo, Naxos, CRI, Koch, RCA Classics, Tzadik, and North/South Consonance."

-Mode Records (

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Track Listing:


1. Glafsered I 13:57

2. Gewicht, Luft, Farbe I 12:16

3. Gewicht, Luft, Farbe II 7:46

4. Gewicht, Luft, Farbe III 8:40

5. Gewicht, Luft, Farbe IV 9:02

6. Toucher L'air 27:52


1. Tender Outermost Melodies I 5:45

2. Tender Outermost Melodies II 6:00

3. Tender Outermost Melodies III 4:06

4. Tender Outermost Melodies IV 5:29

5. Die Meisten Sachen Macht Man Selten 10:12

6. Jemandem Bei Einer Tatigkeit Zuhuren 12:07

7. Metal, Stone 32:06

Related Categories of Interest:

Compositional Forms
European Improvisation, Composition and Experimental Forms
NY Downtown & Metropolitan Jazz/Improv
Percussion & Drums
Solo Artist Recordings
Quartet Recordings
New in Compositional Music
Recent Releases and Best Sellers

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Another Timbre.

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