UNSUK CHIN (b.1961): Fantaisie mécanique, Xi, Double Concerto for Piano, Percussion and Ensemble, Akrostichon-Wortspiel for Soprano and Ensemble.
Catalogue Number: 07N113
Description: A restless search for new sonorities, coupled with a fascination with the plasticity and malleability of sound, characterizes Chin's music. Electronic and electro-acoustic techniques are an important part of her vocabulary, as exemplified by her longest such work to date, Xi. Instrumental and electronic sounds are blended in such a way that it is very difficult to tell what is acoustically produced by some extended playing technique, what is an instrumental sound electronically modified, and what is of electronic origin - which is entirely the point, of course, and an end in itself. The title, a Korean word meaning the smallest unit or original matter, suggests the idea of metamorphosis, the growth of complex structures from elemental atoms. Akrostichon-Wortspiel breaks down two texts into component syllables, treating the sung line as a component in the ensemble tapestry, which additionally features microtonal retuning of instruments to expand the sonorous vocabulary, here without resorting to electronics (though without knowing this one might readily assume that some of the sounds were produced or changed electronically). The same may be said of the Fantaisie, in which looping and echo effects are deliberately emulated within a purely acoustic ensemble. The Double Concerto, with its prepared piano, is audibly influenced in parts by gamelan music, in sonority and its rhythmic layering and sense of momentum. Here too, flexible, fluid textures metamorphose into constantly new and unexpected sonorities. No texts. Piia Komsi (soprano), Samuel Favre (percussion), Dimitri Vassilakis (piano), Ensemble intercontemporain; Patrick Davin (Fantaisie), David Robertson (Xi), Stefan Asbury (Double Concerto), Kazushi Ono (Akrostichon).