BEAT FURRER (b.1954): enigmas I-VI for Mixed Choir a cappella, voices - still for Mixed Choir and Ensemble, ... cold and calm and moving for Flute, Harp and String Trio.

Catalogue Number: 08S054

Label: Toccata Classics

Reference: TOCC 0360

Format: CD

Price: $18.98

Description: The enigma series for a cappella choir was composed between 2006 and 2015 (the seventh in the series is too recent to be included here), and covers a wide range of choral techniques with inventiveness, ingenuity and subtlety. The texts are from Leonardo da Vinci's 'Profezie' an ominous series of reflections on human experiences and the harmful consequences of human actions. The sinister logic of dreams is explored in two; the ruinous uses to which metals can be put in two others; ruination itself in another, and 'the Shadow which follows Man' in one. The first four use tonal-sounding chordal harmony and gently percussive muttered vocalizations in varying measure - the first with its insistently repetitive rhythms and limited harmonic range suggests minimalism, the others do not, but all are relatively straightforward, in several cases rising to powerful unison or chordal climaxes. The much longer fifth - the 'Shadow' - is far more complex and varied, and incorporates a much wider range of vocal techniques including for the first time avant-gardisms reminiscent of aspects of Stockhausen's Stimmung, alongside more conventional passages of stunning beauty and many striking antiphonal effects. The sixth returns to chordal textures, this time with a ritualistic sense of plainchant. voices - still (2001) lies far further along the avant garde continuum of Furrer's output. Its hyperkinetic opening section, a tumult of fragmentary gestures from ensemble and choir gradually erodes into passages of total stillness. The work contains some striking textures and timbres, with subtle Sciarrino-esque sounds on the verge of inaudibility, alongside episodes with a powerful rhythmic impetus. The ensemble piece from 1992 is even more abstract, its concentration on minutiae of sonic gesture reminiscent of Feldman. Helsinki Chamber Choir, Uusinta Ensemble; Nils Schweckendiek.


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