RICHARD AYRES (b.1965): No. 37b for Orchestra (Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra; Roland Kluttig), No. 36: NONcerto for Horn (Wim Timmermans [horn], ASKO Ensemble; Kluttig), No. 31: NONcerto for Trumpet (Marco Blaauw [trumpet], musikFabrik; Kluttig).

Catalogue Number: 04L114

Label: NMC

Reference: D162

Format: CD

Price: $19.98

Description: Giving pieces numbers for titles, and the slightly irritating neologism NONcerto is reminiscent of the kind of affectation that used to be practiced by composers entitling a work 'Work in Progress, 1980-something'; a deliberate attempt to deliberately position themselves outside a perceived mainstream before a note has even been heard. Ayres pulls off this self-imposed outsider-artist status with humor and skill, in these provocative scores. T he pieces have a strong theatrical component - it is not for nothing that the trumpet NONcerto contains a tribute to Schnittke, and apparently in live performance it is not unusual for a soloist to spend time searching for a specific mute, only to have nothing to play with it once found, and similar mute and mime performance effects. The music itself sounds like a collage (but a seamlessly assembled one, with the component parts seemingly related by some perverse logic) of gestures borrowed wholesale from every possible, very familiar-sounding Classical and Romantic source and their more modern derivatives, including popular idioms. Full disclosure; it is very possible that some people may be bemused, even irritated by this kind of pseudo-random, everything-goes ├Žsthetic. But on its own terms it is very approachable and easy to listen to, not remotely unfriendly to the listener, and thought-provoking and entertaining in a thoroughly entertaining way.

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