HANS ABRAHAMSEN (b.1952): Schnee - 10 Canons for 9 Instruments.
Catalogue Number: 11L111
Label: Winter & Winter
Reference: 910 159-2
Description: The idea for this set of original canons came from the composer's experience of arranging canons by J.S. Bach; in his own work he takes the idea of obsessive canonic repetition and overlapping lines to an extreme conclusion, arriving at something that sometimes sounds like a kind of highly expanded minimalism as a result. The intervals at which material is overlapped, and the instrumental timbres involved are not those of the baroque, however; the pieces employ symmetrically arranged groups of musicians (winds on one side, strings on the other, both with piano, and surrounding a central percussion group), allowing a spatial element to enter the proceedings as well. There are three Intermezzi, during which the pitch of the instruments is changed microtonally, so that the later canons involve increasingly complex microtonal displacements of the melodic material. The primary material is not especially complex nor dissonant, and its constant repetition ensures that it remains easy to follow despite the increasing interference between groups in the later canons, so overall the cycle retains a lively and playful minimalistic jostling of competing parts, unusually friendly and accessible for microtonal music. ensemble recherche.