SEBASTIAN FAGERLUND (b.1972): String Quartet No. 1 “Verso l’interno”, Clarinet Sonata, Transient Light for Horn and Piano Trio, Oceano for String Trio, Fuel for Clarinet, Cello and Piano, Scherzic for Viola and Cello.

Catalogue Number: 10X067

Label: BIS

Reference: 2324

Format: SACD hybrid

Price: $19.98

Description: Those who have thrilled to Fagerlund's monumental essays for orchestral forces (04Q088, 07N102, 12S072, 03T078) with their inexorable momentum and irrepressible rhythmic drive, evocative of nature's most impressive structures and forces, may wonder what to expect in a chamber music context. The answer is: very much the same thing, in essence, though as with the works for large forces there is considerable variation in imagery and texture between individual works. The principal difference is one of weight, so to speak; rather than suggesting magmatic flows and tectonic processes, the incessantly energetic ostinati here suggest whirring mechanisms and activity on the verge of flying apart. Oceano is a seascape, beginning with the slow, swelling breathing of rolling waves and a lonely seafarer's song, but in the rhythmically aggressive second part, the journey becomes more urgent and fraught with peril. Fuel is - what else? a sequence of miniatures on the same material as Ignite (04Q088): "a whirling vortex of orchestral texture with a still center". Transient Light (2013) is the longest single movement here, an eleven-minute span in clearly delineated sections, beginning with an arresting clarion fanfare, leading to a motoric opening. The entry of the horn introduces a lyrical stasis, increasingly underpinned by a persistent pulse. From its mid-point onward, the work assumes an increasingly abrupt, mechanical mode of expression, the horn joining in the frenzy and its remaining attempts at melody subsumed, until finally the energy abruptly dissipates and the work ends with a desolate coda of evaporating ascending lines. The Clarinet Sonata also begins with a call to attention, which heralds a pulsating web of dense harmonic texture. This thins out, then resumes its incessant chugging motion. The slow middle movement is timeless, suspended, immobile, rippling surface tremolandi its only activity. A strange, exotic introduction ushers in the frenetically dancelike finale, featuring some slightly deranged klezmer-like playing - one of a number of occasions throughout the works here when Fagerlund introduces hints of the South and the East - Balkan folk idioms and Middle-Eastern modes. The quartet "Toward the Interior" surrounds a fragile, mournful slow movement in long, desolate lines with three ferociously rhythmic, trenchant, frenzied "dances" and a mysterious, evanescent prelude and epilogue. Scherzic is a post-minimalistic amuse-bouche for the lower half of the string quartet, to be played between larger pieces. Meta4, Christoffer Sundqvist (clarinet), Paavali Jumppanen (piano), Hervé Joulain (horn).


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